99.6 pc turnout in crucial State Council elections

99.6 pc turnout in crucial State Council elections

99.6 pc turnout in crucial State Council elections

The fate of 125 candidates in the fray for Legislative Council elections, including IT and BT Minister S R Patil and senior leader Jayaprakash Hegde, was sealed in ballot boxes with polling for the total 25 seats held on Sunday. An average of 99.6 per cent voters cast their ballot.

The polling, held in 6,314 polling booths across the State, was largely peaceful without any major incident of violence or malpractice. The elections are crucial for the ruling Congress for increasing its strength in the Upper House of the Legislature. Currently, the BJP is numerically strong with 30 members in the total 75 member Council. The Congress has 28 members and the JD(S) 11 MLCs. The votes will be counted on Wednesday.

The Congress has fielded candidates in 21 constituencies, the BJP in 20 and the JD(S) in 18 seats. Both the Congress and the BJP are facing the heat of rebellion in the elections.

Former MP Jayaprakash Hegde and sitting MLC Dayananda Reddy are in the fray in Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru Urban seats respectively as Congress rebels. In the BJP, former MP Basanagouda Patil Yatnal is contesting as the rebel candidate from the Vijayapura local body constituency.

Members of local bodies, both urban and rural, the State legislature and Parliament were voters in this elections. The polling was held in the offices of all gram, taluk and zilla panchayats, city corporations, city municipal councils, town municipal councils and town panchayats. The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (OCEO), Karnataka, had webcast the polling at select booths, most of them were sensitive ones. Preferential voting system is followed in this elections.

Prominent among those who failed to vote were Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, businessman and MP Vijay Mallya and Congress MLC M R Seetharam. Besides, Raghu Achar, who is an independent MLC, also did not vote as he is contesting from Chitradurga local body constituency as the Congress candidate. He is a voter in Bengaluru Urban.

Addressing the media after the polling, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anil Kumar Jha said three cases of election malpractices had been registered. In Magalur gram panchayat of Anekal taluk, a woman gram panchayat member was caught trying to take away the ballot paper. BJP MLA G H Thippa Reddy’s vote has been declared invalid for displaying the ballot paper before dropping it in the ballot box in Chitradurga. In Dharwad, a voter was caught taking the photo of the ballot paper on his mobile phone. The polling booth officials seized the phone immediately, he added.

Jha said that eight of the total 22 members of Aregurahatti gram panchayat in Navalgund boycotted the election. People of Navalgund taluk and other places of North Karnataka have been staging a protest demanding implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri project.

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