70.73 pc poll in Phase I

Gram Panchayat Elections: Stray incidents of violence reported during voting

70.73 pc poll in Phase I

 
Eighty-five-year-old Pillamma cast  her vote at Halappanahalli in Hoskote on Saturday. DH PhotoThe enthusiasm of the rural masses to come out in good strength to elect their candidates for the local panchayats is in sharp contrast to the lukewarm response of their urban counterparts in Bangalore in the recent BBMP polls which recorded a polling percentage of 44 per cent.

Bangalore (Rural) comprising the taluks of Hoskote, Nelamangala, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli recorded the highest voters’ turnout at 80 per cent. The lowest turnout was witnessed in the newly-carved out Yadgir district (60 pc).

The poll percentage is likely to increase when the final tally is complied on Sunday, State Election Commission (SEC) Secretary D K  Ravindranath said.

Even in the naxal-affected areas of Udupi, voters responded optimistically to the bullet menace through the ballot. Deep in the forest, amid tight security, voters were seen queueing up to exercise their franchise.

Ravindranath said polling was by and large peaceful with isolated minor incidents of skirmishes between groups over complaints of proxy voting, confusion due to printing mistake in ballot papers and missing names in voters list.

Lathicharge

In some places, police had to resort to minor lathi charge to disperse stone-pelting crowd. Reports of miscreants pouring ink or water into the ballot boxes have been reported from a few Gram Panchayat wards of Bellary, Gulbarga and Koppal districts. Mistakes in ballot papers have been reported from three wards of Ramanagara and Davangere districts.

The SEC will decide on holding repolling in these wards after receiving reports from the jurisdictional Deputy Commissioners.

In all, repoll is likely to be held in eight wards of various GPs between 7 am and 5 pm on May 12 , sources in the SEC said.

Saturday’s polling decided the fate of over 1.16 lakh candidates, vying for 39,807 seats in 2,641 GPs across 16 districts. Among them, 3,941 candidates have been already declared elected unopposed.

Though elections to GPsare conducted on a non-party basis and without party symbols, it is common knowledge that the political parties sponsor candidates.

For political parties, the poll is the first major exercise of gauging public opinion after the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The second phase of the GP polls will be held on May 12. Counting of votes will be taken up simultaneously for both the phases on May 17.

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