55 per cent polling in Council polls

Blore Graduates constituency registers low turnout
Last Updated 10 June 2012, 19:03 IST

The election to the Legislative Council from graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies, on Sunday, saw a polling percentage of around 55.

The knowledge capital - Bangalore Graduates’ constituency - recorded the lowest voter turnout, between 30 per cent and 35 per cent. The constituency has the largest number of registered voters -1.1 lakh. The Election Commission could not confirm the exact voting percentage in this constituency till late evening. 

According to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), South East Teachers’ constituency registered around 83 per cent polling, highest among the six constituencies that went to polls. While South Teachers’ constituency recorded 66.72 per cent polling, South West Teachers’ constituency saw 60.49 per cent turnout.

The South West Graduates’ constituency recorded 50.39 per cent polling, while North East Graduates’ constituency registered 41.92 per cent. Officials in the Election Commission said the figures were provisional.

They said no cases of violations of code of conduct were registered and that the elections were peaceful in all six constituencies.

The election day saw a lot of teachers come out and vote despite it being a holiday. The graduates on the other hand were less enthusiastic. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda voted in Puttur and expressed confidence that his party would bag all six seats.

Newly-registered voters - Justice Santosh Hegde and former Infosys director Mohandas Pai - exercised their franchise in support of Loksatta Party candidate, Ashwin Mahesh, in Bangalore Graduates’ constituency.

Problems galore

While the Election Commission claimed that all was well, candidates and voters were an angry lot. Several voters found their names missing from the original list. Polling centres being located far off from the voters’ homes was another grouse.

For instance, in Bangalore Graduates’ constituency, the names of 139 voters and 131 voters were missing from the list at two polling centres in Arakere – 14 ‘A’ and 14 ‘B’, respectively.

Banker H N Vishwanath from HSR Layout cast his vote. But, the names of his wife, son and daughter-in-law were found missing.

“I have a feeling that the names are purposely deleted. Either it is due to maladministration or it is politically motivated. I am fed up with this system. This is not democracy,” he said.

On learning that a number of names had gone missing, Ashwin Mahesh rushed to the spot and insisted that voters who made it to the polling station be allowed to vote. “It’s unfortunate that they are not being allowed to vote,” he said.

Shambudayal Meena, Regional Commissioner, Bangalore Division, said his office had valid reasons to delete the names from the final list, and that the details of the same were put up on the official website.

He said that the names were deleted as the voters had not produced sufficient documents, including address proof and their original degree certificates. “We have made the best efforts to ensure that voters are provided sufficient information,” he said.

Ramachandra Gowda, BJP candidate from Bangalore Graduates’ constituency, lashed out at the office of the CEO for the problems faced by voters.

“The Election Commission in Karnataka is a fraud. It has not bothered to prepare the voters’ list properly. Moreover, there have been double entries of over 3,000 names. The Commission has taken cognisance of none of the complaints that I have registered,” he said.

Ganesh Karnik, BJP candidate from South West Teachers’ constituency, too was upset with the CEO.

“The Commission has been continuously bungling up. It claims to be strict, but it is totally incompetent,” he said.

(Published 10 June 2012, 15:25 IST)

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