DK sees 74 pc cast vote in GP poll

A total of 74 per cent voters exercised their franchise out of 10,16, 024, in the peaceful Gram Panchayat elections held for 3,288 seats of 229 Gram Panchayats of Dakshina Kannada district on Friday. The highest voter turn out in earlier years was 73.51 in 2010 Gram Panchayat elections.

Going by taluk-wise, Sullia topped the district with 77.94 voters turnout, followed by Puttur with 75.43 per cent, Bantwal (73.40 per cent), Belthangady (72.89 per cent) and Mangaluru finished with least 68.73 per cent. As 109 members were selected unanimously 7,619 candidates were in the race for the remaining seats. Though polling was quite dull till 11 am, it got accelerated later on and finished with considerably good percentage.

In two villages elections were postponed to May 31 as per the direction of Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim, because of different reasons. In Paduperar Gram Panchayat of Mangaluru taluk, the symbol of a candidate was not printed in the ballot paper.

In polling centre 196 of ward number one, the symbol of BJP supported candidate Nalinakshi, was not printed. The error came to light when a senior citizen asked about the symbol with the election returning officer. In Bandaru village of Belthangady taluk, election was postponed because of confusion in symbols.

In spite of monsoon rains, brisk voting was witnessed in Naravi Gram Panchayat of Belthangady taluk. In ward three, four candidates were in race for two seats. By noon, around 55 per cent voting was registered in the centre, which has 684 voters. The returning officer said that in second ward six candidates have been contested for three seats. Senior citizens and women had to face problems by heavy rains.

People were enthusiastic to cast their vote even in Nellikkaru Gram Panchayat of Moodbidri taluk. In the GP, four candidates were in race to four seats. By noon itself, around 500 voters out of 1188 had exercised their franchise. A village resident said that villagers always stayed together in facing problems. BJP may get upper hand in the region, he guessed.

Minister happy
Meanwhile, District-in-Charge Minister B Ramanath Rai was happy about peaceful polling in the district. Except small complaints, there are no confusions in polling. “I am confident that people will support Congress for its pro-people governance, with various schemes for poor,” he said.

In Badaga Ulippadi ward of Ganjimutt gram panchayat, Abdul Majeed said that he has been selected for six times and contesting for the seventh time with the support of Congress. Meanwhile, few blamed there is no permanent Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) for the village, In-charge has been given to Bajpe PDO. Brisk voting was witnessed in Gurupura. The people of Ballaka and Sevaje of Devachalla villages who had threatened of boycotting election, participated in the polling.

Vittal Malekudiya who is facing charges of being naxal sympathiser, has strong hopes of winning from Kutlur second ward of Naravi Gram Panchayat (GP) of Belthangady taluk, in the election which was held on Friday.

Speaking after exercising his franchise at Kutlur first ward, a post graduation degree holder in Mass Communication and Journalism from Mangalore University, Vittal said that he was overwhelmed by the response of the people.

“If I win the election, there is a need to increase the moral of Malekudiyas. There should not be any harassment by police on them. The authorities should not evict Malekudiyas from Kudremukh National Park. I would work my level best for the development of the village,” he said.

Not only Vittal Malekudiya, but two women from the community- Sunanda Malekudiya of Kotyandadka and Dejamma of Kutlur also are in Naravi GP race this time. They believed that people will definitely support them.

A person called Sudhakar Malekudiya had contested GP election with the support of JD(S) in past, but he could not win. This time CPM has completely supported Malekudiya candidates and senior leaders like B M Bhat had participated in the campaign. There are around 145 votes within the Kudremukh National Park limits, said Sujatha Hegde Moodadi.  
By the end of the polling, in ward one, out of 911 voters 72 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise. They had to select two members out of five candidates.
In the second ward five candidates were in the race for two seats. The ward registered 79 per cent of polling (606 voters). According to sources, around 90 per cent of Malekudiyas have exercised their franchise. As it is a naxal-affected area, Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) squad, DySP and Sub-Inspector had visited the place.

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