Karnataka election latest updates: Polling has gathered pace in Karnataka, recording a turnout of 56% till 3pm. Dakshina Kannada saw brisk voting at 47%. Earlier, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called BJP’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa “mentally-disturbed when asked about the latter’s declaration that he would take oath on May 17, two days after the counting of votes. Polling is being held for 222 seats in the 224-seat Assembly as the Election Commission deferred polling in RR Nagar due to alleged voter bribery and in Jayanagara following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar. As voting picks up, reports are also pouring in of high-handed behaviour by netas. In Chamundeshwari, a seat Siddaramaiah is contesting from, the wife of JD(S) candidate GT Deve Gowda reportedly asked polling officials to shift an EVM for “better vastu”. In Hebbala, BJP’s Narayanaswamy allegedly abused polling staff after one of his supporters was arrested for stalling voting. BJP’s Sriramulu, who is contesting in Badami against Siddaramaiah performed a ‘gau puja’ before voting. The ruling Congress and the BJP are the main contenders for power, while former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's JD(S) is likely to play the kingmaker, according to most surveys and opinion polls. Counting of votes will be held on May 15.
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May 12, 2018 3:29 pm (IST)
Even as many places received rainfall last night, temperature in Kalaburgi is soaring over 40 degrees in the afternoon, affecting the voter turnout.
43-degree Celsius temperature in Kalaburgi affects the voter turn out. Locals say, 'there was a rush at the booths in the morning, but now there is hardly any crowd at the booths as the temperature is quite high. Right now, it is more than 40 degrees.' #KarnatakaElections2018pic.twitter.com/y4YAg9AZFM
With just three more hours left for voting, 56% of votes have been registered till 3 pm. Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray — more than 2400 men and and over 200 women. The total voters including service electors according to the 2018 final rolls are 5,06,90,538, of whom 2,56,75,579 are male voters, 2,50,09,904 are female and 5,055 transgender voters.
May 12, 2018 3:05 pm (IST)
"This Amit Shah is like a comedy show and Narendra Modi's image has drastically declined. His speeches are completely hollow and have made no impact on the voters of Karnataka. Therefore, we are not worried," news agency ANI quotes chief minister Siddaramaiah as saying. (In picture: Siddaramaiah and his son after casting their vote)
RECAP | Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today asserted that the Congress would come back to power with a clear majority and dubbed his political rival, BJP's B S Yeddyurappa as "mentally disturbed" on his claim that he would form the next government in the state. He also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, charging that income tax raids were ordered against Congress workers and well-wishers out of desperation because the saffron party was sure of losing the election. The issue would be raised with the Election Commission after the polls and in Parliament, he said. Sounding confident about Congress victory, Siddaramaiah dubbed Yeddyurappa "mentally disturbed" for his claim that he would take oath as the chief minister on May 17. "Congress will get the clear majority. There is no confusion about this. We are very confident that Congress will come back to power with clear majority. He (Yeddyurappa) is mentally disturbed. BJP can't get more than 60-65 seats," Siddaramaiah said.
May 12, 2018 2:49 pm (IST)
After a bride, a newly-married couple arrive at a polling booth in Dharwad.
With less than 40% vote count in the poll bound state till 1 pm and media reports earlier painting a sad picture for India's Silicon Valley voters, cyber cafes and food joints in Bengaluru are offering attractive discounts to people who exercise their franchise.
May 12, 2018 2:33 pm (IST)
After former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot slammed PM Modi for trying to "influence Karnataka voters" by visiting temples in Nepal after model code of conduct was enforced in the state, BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said, "It's not like he (Modi) is going to temple only now. He has always visited temples. If Gehlot ji wants, he can go to Ajmer today. Who is stopping him from offering chadar at Ajmer Sharif?"
May 12, 2018 2:26 pm (IST)
After voters of over 100 years of age, a pregnant woman and a bride, another interesting voter was spotted at a booth in Shimoga. A voter arrived at a polling station flashing 1.75 kg of gold jewellery.
May 12, 2018 2:22 pm (IST)
Expanding the option of freebies for the voters, the Karnataka Associated Management of English-medium Schools (KAMS), which has got more than 3,000 member schools in the state, has decided to award extra marks to students whose parents have voted. According to reports, a student can gain a maximum of 4 marks, as each vote will get them 2 marks, for the academic year 2018-19.
May 12, 2018 2:10 pm (IST)
The Many Firsts | From all-women managed 'Pink Booths' to the use of third generation Electronic Voting Machines, the assembly elections in Karnataka are marked by several firsts. The country's IT hub saw electoral authorities initiate a slew of initiatives targeting a voting percentage of 75. As the outcry about the alleged vulnerability of the EVMs to tampering grew louder, the Election Commission has come up with the 'M3 EVMs' that are tamper proof and stops when attempts are made to meddle with it. On a pilot basis, the Election commission chose five assembly constituencies in Bengaluru-- Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthinagar, Gandhi Nagar and Rajaji Nagar in Bengaluru. In a women-oriented step, 450 "pink booths" called 'Sakhi' have been set up. Sending a message of women empowerment, they are entirely managed by women, right from the returning officer to the security personnel, the sources said. Adding a riot of colours, the EC has set up ethnic polling booths in Mysuru, Chamarajnagar and Uttar Kannada districts where polling booths match the lifestyle of tribal masses living there.
May 12, 2018 2:02 pm (IST)
Even till afternoon, Dakshina Kannada remains on top as far as voting percentage is concerned. The region has recorded 47% votes till now. The break up of other regions are as follows:
Meanwhile, 39% voting has been recorded till 1pm. In one of the most bitter electoral battles the state has ever seen, the ruling Congress and the BJP went all out to woo voters during their acrimonious campaign that saw the top leaders of both parties criss crossing the state.
May 12, 2018 1:33 pm (IST)
"We appeal to people to exercise their voting rights & choose a govt of clean image. We are hopeful that public will take a huge decision today to change the politics of nation, will reject national parties BJP and Congress, and instead vote for JD(S)-BSP alliance," news agency ANI quotes JD(S)'s Danish Ali as saying.
May 12, 2018 1:29 pm (IST)
Congress leader DK Shivkumar waits to cast his vote at polling booth number 240 in Kanakapura.
May 12, 2018 1:12 pm (IST)
According to state electoral authorities, the highest 31 per cent voting was recorded in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts respectively at 11 am while Bengaluru urban recorded the lowest at 17 per cent.
Meanwhile, weatherman has forecast that the temperature may go up later in the day, reports news agency PTI.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde casts his vote at a polling booth in Bengaluru. Hegde says, 'Over the years, I feel that malpractices have increased. Distribution of sarees. alcohol, dhotis & cookers have come out in open. It is not a good sign in democracy.' pic.twitter.com/8ZaBQBep9o
Officials said 58,008 polling stations have been set up across the state, of which 12002 have been designated as "critical", with over 3,50,000 polling personnel on duty.
Bengaluru: Clashes broke out b/w Congress & BJP workers outside a polling booth in Hampi Nagar,allegedly after the former thrashed a BJP corporator. Ravindra, Vijayanagar BJP candidate says, 'our corporator Anand was attacked but police isn't taking any action' #KarnatakaElectionpic.twitter.com/SuXFNlI62d
It is a sensitive polling booth & the clash between BJP and Congress workers happened within 100 meters of the booth. We will investigate and take further action: Ravi Channannavar, Bengaluru DCP #KarnatakaElections2018pic.twitter.com/8npPZcCvjs
While we have already seen jovial elders urging youngsters to exercise their franchise and an adamant pregnant woman insisting to vote, now a newly-married woman is here to give residents some 'voting goals'. The woman arrived at a polling booth soon after her wedding to choose her representative.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala says, "Congress will get 130 plus seats, and the corrupt and criminal Yeddy-Reddy gang will be rejected by the people of Karnataka." (In picture: Yeddyurappa casts his vote)
May 12, 2018 12:31 pm (IST)
BJP workers stage protest outside a booth in Dharwad's Karadigudda after they alleged that the booth polling staff were asking people to vote for Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni, reports news agency ANI.
Dharwad: BJP workers staged protest outside Booth No. 58 in Karadigudda, alleging that polling staff at the booth were asking people to vote for Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni. EC officials present at the spot #KarnatakaElections2018pic.twitter.com/xPgwpKhEEq
After casting his vote in Varuna, when media persons sought CM Siddaramaiah reaction on Yeddyurappa's statement that he is confident of being sworn in as the 17th CM, the chief minister said that BSY is "mentally disturbed".
RECAP | Two chief ministerial aspirants, BJP's B S Yeddyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy of JDS, today sought divine blessings as the polling process for the Karnataka Assembly elections was set in motion. The two leaders offered special prayers at temples for their success in the election, in which BJP is hoping to regain power and JDS is eyeing to be the "king", not just a "kingmaker." Before leaving to exercise his franchise, Yeddyurappa with his party workers went to offer prayers at the 'Sankata Vimochana Anjaneya' at Shikaripura in his constituency. Former chief minister and number two in the JD (S) hierarchy, H D Kumaraswamy too sought the blessings of his family deity Bhairaveshwara at Adi Chunchanagiri Math at Vijayanagar in Bengaluru.
May 12, 2018 12:09 pm (IST)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today urged the people of Karnataka to participate in the "festival of democracy" by voting in large numbers. Gandhi also welcomed first-time voters to take part in the electoral process. "Voter exercising his right without fail is the sign of functional democracy. I welcome all my young friends who are casting their vote for first time in Karnataka," Gandhi said in a tweet in Kannada. "I request people of Karnataka to celebrate this biggest festival of democracy in large numbers with fervour, and make it successful," he said. The Congress chief had extensively campaigned across the state with an aim to bring the party back to power in Karnataka, which is the only large state ruled by it after Punjab.
May 12, 2018 12:06 pm (IST)
Voters From Three Generations | Hundred-year-old Lakshmi Karanth, who has been voting since the first ever general elections, exercised her franchise in the Assembly elections along with her family. Karanth says, "Everybody should go out and vote, whether young or old." Another elderly person, 105-year-old Homballamma casted her vote in Hassan. She has been voting since 1952.
People were seen standing in queues to cast their votes in the early hours itself, factoring in that the temperature may go up later in the day. Also, it has been raining in different parts of south interior Karnataka for the last couple of days during the evening hours.
Senior citizens were seen in good numbers standing in queues at various polling stations to cast their votes early.
State BJP chief and party's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, and Pradesh Congress Committee G Parameshwara were among the first to cast votes in Shikaripura in Shivamogga and Yaggere in Tumakuru respectively.
Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda along with wife Chennamma cast their votes at Paduvalahippe in Hassan district. Film actors Ramesh Arvind, Ravichandran, also scion of Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar were among the prominent personalities to cast their votes early today.
There are reports about delay in polling due to some technical issues with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) from different parts of the state.
Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru has been countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar.
The Election Commission has also deferred the polls for Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment.
Suspecting something fishy, both Congress and BJP have pointed accusing fingers at each other in the matter. "Today people of Karnataka are standing in queues to create history & show the nation the way to liberal, progressive, peaceful & compassionate politics & governance. I thank them for their support & wish them well," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted.
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray-- more than 2400 men and and over 200 women. The total voters including service electors according to the 2018 final rolls are 5,06,90,538, of whom 2,56,75,579 male voters, 2,50,09,904 female and 5,055 transgender voters.
Officials said 58,008 polling stations have been set up across the state, of which 12002 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.
"82,157 people have been deployed for poll duty that includes DSPs, home guards and civil defence, and forest guards and watchers," Karnataka DGP Neelamani N Raju said. This also includes about 7,500 personnel from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Kerala and Goa, she said, adding, central forces have been deployed.
One among the interesting aspects of this election is that four candidates who have served as Chief Minister of Karnataka are in the fray-- Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (Chamundeshwari and Badami), B S Yeddyurappa (Shikaripura), H D Kumaraswamy (Chennapatna and Ramanagara) and Jagadish Shettar (Hubli-Dharwad Central.)