Karnataka Assembly Election 2018: Gau Puja, Vastu Drama, Mosquito Menace Mark Karnataka's Voting Day So Far
Polling in Bengaluru's Raja Rajeshwari Nagar segment has been postponed to May 28 in the voter ID cards case and countermanded in the city's Jayanagar seat following the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4.
Bengaluru: Polling for the high-stakes Karnataka assembly elections got underway on Saturday morning under a thick security blanket. In what is projected as a tight race, voting is being held in 222 out of 224 seats in a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's JD(S). The Election Commission has deferred the polls for the Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment. Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar.
Here’s how the voting day has panned out so far:
— The single-phase polling began at 7 am in 222 Assembly constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes (ST). Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray — more than 2,400 men and over 200 women.
— Transport inconvenience, EVMs malfunction and natural hurdles like rainfall have temporarily disrupted voting in some places. Voters are also facing the mosquito menace in some booths. Enraged over mosquito bites, voters in three booths in Bengaluru's Madevapura Assembly seat blasted the Election Commission for not taking precautionary measures. Meanwhile, the security personnel at the voting centres had to swing into action to bring in mosquito coils.
— BJP’s Sriramulu, who is contesting in Badami against Siddaramaiah performed a ‘gau puja’ before voting.
— In Chamundeshwari, one of the two constituencies CM Siddaramaiah is contesting from, the wife of JD(S) candidate GT Deve Gowda forced polling officials to shift an EVM machine for “better vastu”.
— A BJP worker was arrested in Hebbala constituency for threatening voters against casting their ballots before the arrival of party MLA Narayanaswamy. When the lawmaker finally arrived, he allegedly abused polling officials for getting his supporters arrested.
— For the first time in Karnataka, all-women polling stations called Sakhi has been set up in all rural assembly constituencies and five in each urban constituencies (totalling 600 polling stations).
— Officials said 58,008 polling stations have been set up across the state, of which 12,002 have been designated as "critical", with over 3,50,000 polling personnel on duty.
— Police have made elaborate security arrangements for the smooth conduct of polls that will go on till 6 pm.
— State electoral authorities have also taken certain new initiatives such as SMS-based polling station access, app-based polling station access and navigation and queue status facility for a few polling stations with higher voter population.
— The current polls are seen as one of the most complexes the state had ever witnessed with many imponderables that have left most analysts to bet on a fractured mandate in a cliffhanger.
— Four candidates who have served as chief minister of Karnataka are in the fray —current incumbent Siddaramaiah (Chamundeshwari and Badami), B S Yeddyurappa (Shikaripura), H D Kumaraswamy (Chennapatna and Ramanagara) and Jagadish Shettar (Hubli-Dharwad Central.)
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