71.1% polling for 4 legislative council seats in K'taka

71.1% polling for four legislative council seats in Karnataka

Initially, there was a poor turnout with an average polling percentage of 8.5 till 10 am

Representative Photo. Credit: AFP

Average polling of 71.1 per cent was recorded during the election to four legislative council seats on Wednesday in Karnataka, Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar said.

Initially, there was a poor turnout with an average polling percentage of 8.5 till 10 am. However, it picked up later in the afternoon.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Election Commission had directed the returning officers to ensure that face masks and social distancing should be maintained by the staff as well as the voters. The direction was strictly followed, an officer said.

According to the data shared by the CEO, the polling percentage in the North East Teachers (Kalaburagi) was 73.32, Bangalore Teachers (Bangalore) -- 66 per cent, South East Graduate(Bangalore) -- 75 per cent and West Graduate (Belgaum) --70.11 per cent.

The MLC polls are taking place following the retirement of R Chowda Reddy Thoopalli, S V Sankanur, Sharanappa Mattur and Puttanna respectively.

This election is crucial for the BJP as it lacks a majority in the upper house to pass the crucial bills. The BJP government could not pass the farm bills and labour reforms amendment bills in the recently held legislature session as it could not get through the upper house despite getting them passed in the assembly.

In the council with a strength of 75 members, Congress has 28 members, BJP -- 27 members, Janata Dal (Secular) -- 14 members, one independent, one chairman and four vacant seats.

According to the CEO, polling began at 8 am and concluded at 5 pm. The counting of votes will be held on November 2.

Forty candidates are trying their luck in the elections. Among them are the four whose retirement on June 30 warranted the elections.

The four constituencies have 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies of which 71.10 per cent had cast their votes. In the wake of elections, security was beefed up at the polling stations and prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC were imposed in and around the booths which will remain in effect till Thursday morning.

Arrangements for hand sanitisers and thermal screening at all the booths were made. Medical teams were also deployed around the polling centres as well.