Bengaluru, Aug 22 (IANS) Around 46 percent of the 74 lakh electorate voted on Saturday in 197 wards of the Bengaluru civic corporation across the city amid tight security, a poll official said.
Barring stray incidents and heated arguments by cadres and supporters of rival political parties, polling in 197 of the 198 civic wards was by and large peaceful.
“As per initial reports from 6,463 polling stations across the city, 46-47 percent of voting was recorded till 5 p.m. The final figure may go up two-three percent, as there was a last minute rush of voters in several booths around 5 p.m. due to moderate to heavy rains in many wards in the evening,” the official told IANS.
During the 2010 civic poll, the voting was 44 percent in 198 wards.
The century-old Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase civic wards to 198 from 100.
The day-long election was held in 197 wards, as the BJP’s Bharati Ramachandra, 45, was declared elected from the Hongasandra ward (number 189) after the nomination papers of Congress candidate K. Maheshwari were rejected on August 13 for submitting a false caste certificate.
Delimitation of the wards on the basis of the 2011 population census, with 50 percent of them reserved for women, has forced political parties to field wives or relatives of former corporators as contestants in many wards.
Though polling began at 7 a.m. and was dull initially, it picked up momentum post-noon and 23-25 percent voting was registered till 2 p.m. across the city,
The state government declared a public holiday to enable the electorate to vote, while police banned liquor sale till Saturday night across the city.
Re-polling, if any, will be held on Monday and counting will take place on August 25.
In all, 1,120 candidates, including 197, 198 and 187 from the BJP, the ruling Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) respectively, a dozen from regional outfits like Vatala Chaluvali Paksha, AIADMK and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and 399 Independents, including many as rebels are in the fray.
In the previous five-year term (2010-2015), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning 116 wards, as against 62 wards by the Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by Independents.
On the Supreme Court’s directive, the revised polling date (August 22) was fixed on July 16 and the BBMP commissioner notified the election schedule on August 3, with the last date for filing nominations on August 10, scrutiny on August 11 and the last date for withdrawal on August 13.
According to an exit poll, conducted by a local news channel, the ruling Congress in the state is projected to get 91-98 seats, BJP 83-91, JD-S 9-17 and others, including independents, 1-8.
Bengaluru: Polling for BBMP polls underway, 4.5% voters turn up in first three hours
Bengaluru (DHNS): The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) election to elect a new council of corporators to govern the City for the next five years is being held today. Electors have started exercising their franchise. Polling is underway.
According to media reports, the turnout at the polling booths in several wards across the city is very poor. Till 9:30 am, only 4.5 percent of voters turned up for casting their vote.
Voting has been delayed at several wards due to malfunctioning of the EVMs.
As many as 197 corporators of the total 198 to represent that many wards, need to be elected. A BJP nominee has already been declared elected unopposed from Hongasandra ward. There are 1,120 contestants in the fray. In all, 17 parties have fielded 721 candidates and the remaining 399 are contesting as Independents.
It is to be seen whether the citizens will come out and vote in large numbers in this election. Voter turnout in the last election held in 2010 was just 44 per cent. The total electorate is 73.88 lakh.
The Congress party, which is holding the reins of the State had fielded candidates in all the wards. However, nomination of one of the candidates was rejected helping the BJP to win unopposed. The BJP, which was in power in the BBMP council for the last five years, have fielded candidates for all the wards. The JD(S) has not fielded candidates for 10 wards.
Electronic voting machines will be in use. Voters should be enrolled in the electoral rolls and produce any of the 22 government-issued cards at polling booths as identity proof to vote. Voter identity cards, known as EPIC, is not mandatory.
BBMP officials on poll duty and political parties have distributed voter slip indicating the polling booth of the individual voter in each ward.
Even those who have not received the slip may vote, provided they produce the government approved ID cards.
The indelible ink mark, also known as voter’s ink, will be marked on the left thumb.
If repolling is necessitated, it would be held on August 24 from 7 am to 5 pm. The counting of votes would be from 8 am on August 25.
Post 1990, the party in power in the state, had held the reins of administration in the Palike as well. It remains to be seen whether the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government would create history again. So far the Palike has not seen coalition governance. For Siddaramaiah, the stakes are high in these elections. He has been fighting to shed his ‘anti-Bengaluru’ image. He had become the face and voice of the party during the campaign.
In case of the BJP, MLA R Ashoka played a key role in selection of candidates. Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy was the lone key campaigner for the JD(S).