Karnataka GP polls: 80% turnout likely, says SEC

Karnataka GP polls: 80% turnout likely, says SEC

Barring two incidents, one in Ballari and another in Kalaburagi where there was a problem with the symbol on the ballot paper, the polls were peacefully conducted, the official said

Credit: DH Photo

The first phase of the gram panchayat polls held on Tuesday saw an encouraging voter turnout in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the State Election Commission estimating the figure to touch 80%.

Bengaluru Urban district saw an encouraging 76.46% voter turnout in the first phase of the polls wherein a total of 3,019 gram panchayats across the state went to polls.

According to an official release, the panchayat polls were held in 265 polling centres in Bengaluru Urban district, in which 1.43 lakh voters were registered. Final numbers were still being tallied, according to officials.

Voters in other districts, too, came out to vote in good numbers. In Madikeri, a beeline was seen in front of the polling booths in Kedakal, Madapura, Kumburu, Seventh Hosakote, Guddehosuru and Harangi. People working outside the district had come to their native to exercise their franchise. Most of the voters turned up at the polling booths along with their family. The district saw about 62.21% turnout by 3 pm.

Octogenarian Bhagirathi Patil (84), who cast her vote at Cherkadi gram panchayat in Udupi district, said she came to vote with her grandchildren as she knew the candidate. Casting a vote is also an attempt to prove their right besides making the government realise that they are still alive, according to her. 

In some places, technical glitches posed a hurdle for the smooth conduct of polls. For instance, in Mangaluru taluk, owing to a power outage at a government higher primary school in Kuthar and in Amblamogaru, polling officials were forced to depend on torchlight and candles in wee hours in order to verify the voters' list. Finally, the polling process resumed after power was restored.

According to State Election Commissioner B Basavaraju, there was an encouraging response overall. "We are estimating an 80% voter turnout. We have information from 13 districts as of now and the number are still being compiled. Previously, in 2015, the turnout was similar," he said. 

Barring two incidents, one in Ballari and another in Kalaburagi where there was a problem with the symbol on the ballot paper, the polls were peacefully conducted, the official said.

"The returning officer in a gram panchayat in Ballari made a mistake and the symbol was wrongly printed on the ballot paper. A show cause notice was issued. A similar incident took place in Kalaburagi. There will be repolling in these two panchayats," Basavaraju said, adding that more information was awaited.