Voters' vivacity marks polls in B'luru's GPs

While people in most parts of Bengaluru were still asleep, the entire Vajjarahalli in Nelamangala taluk was up and about, with a festive atmosphere prevailing in the air.

At the crack of dawn, the residents started lining up to exercise their franchise on Tuesday. Such was their enthusiasm that the election officials started the voting procedure, 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. By 7 am, four to five people had already cast their votes, while the queue in front of booth number 200 kept growing. On Monday evening itself, people were seen thronging bus and railway stations in the City to head out to their respective GPs.

Though GP elections are not fought on party lines, candidates were seen appeasing the electorate through various means. Supporters of candidates were seen bringing in the voters in luxury cars. At lunch time, they had organised distribution of food to the entire village. This was however done discretely. In Suragajakkanahalli in Anekal taluk, supporters of candidates went around in a large truck, distributing large plates of freshly cooked biriyani.

The most common appeasement, however, was liquor. Though sale and transportation of liquor were banned, candidates or their supporters distributed stocked liquor. As a result, a majority of the voters exercised their franchise in an inebriated condition. Voting in Nelamangala, which is notorious for its rowdy elements, was peaceful. Jailed candidate Harsha was elected unanimously from Hyadalu.

In Kodappanahalli near Sondekoppa hobli, confusion prevailed in a booth with the symbols of two candidates - Lakshmamma and Lakshmidevi - being swapped. Though the presiding officer had ordered for reprinting of fresh ballot papers, officials had brought in the old ballot papers.

Srinivas, a businessman in Harohalli of Kanakapura taluk in Ramanagar district, was hospitalised in a private hospital in Bengaluru for low blood pressure. He was, however, forced to come to Harohalli and cast his vote as he was threatened by the supporters of a candidate that his name would be deleted from the voters’ list if he did not vote. Bengaluru Urban district has registered a voter turnout of 76 per cent.

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