Polling begins in Karnataka

Polling begins in Karnataka

Polling begins in Karnataka

Single-phase polling for 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka began this morning to decide the fortunes of 435 candidates in a close fight between the ruling Congress and BJP.

Nearly 85,000 security personnel drawn from the state and central forces have been deployed across the state for free and fair polls, officials said. Armed police force from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are also on duty.

About 4.62 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Of the 54,000 odd polling stations, 11,424 have been declared hypersensitive and 14,968 sensitive, officials said. As many as 6,072 video cameras have been installed at various polling stations 2,687 of which have webcast facilities.

Over 2.95 lakh polling personnel, including 1.18 lakh women, are on duty.

In a new experiment, electoral authorities have introduced Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in Bangalore South, which is among the seven constituencies in the country chosen for the exercise.

VVPAT is a printer with drop box. It prints and displays a slip for seven seconds after the vote is cast so that a citizen can also see who they cast their vote for. The slip will then get automatically dropped into the drop box next to the Electronic Voting Machine and can't be retrieved.

The contest is mainly between Congress and BJP in 22 of the 28 constituencies and is three-way in six others where JDS headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda is in the reckoning.

Congress and BJP have both set the target of grabbing 20 seats. In the 2009 polls, BJP had won 19 seats, Congress six and JDS three.

Congress is looking for a repeat of its Assembly polls performance in May last year when it returned to power with 122 of the 224 seats, unseating the first-ever BJP government in the South.

Constituencies under spotlight include Bangalore South where Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, also face of UPA's flagship programme Aadhar, is locked in a bitter fight with BJP's Ananth Kumar, a five-time MP.

Others whose fate will be decided are former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa (Shimoga), Gowda (Hassan) and Union Minister M Veerappa Moily (Chikkaballapur).

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