Saturday, April 25, 2009

City witnesses low turnout

Deccan Herald » Scroll » Detailed Story
51 pc polling in State, villagers boycott polls protesting lack of amenities
City witnesses low turnout
DH News Service,Bangalore:
A pleasant weather, elaborate security arrangements and hi-tech campaigning could not push most Bangaloreans to walk to the polling stations and cast their votes.
The peaceful first phase of Lok Sabha polls in 17 constituencies in the State on Thursday recorded a low turnout of 51 per cent with a majority of voters in the City staying away from exercising their franchise.
The three Lok Sabha constituencies in Bangalore City registered an average voter turnout of 46.66 per cent, a figure not only below the state average but also lower than the 2004 Lok Sabha poll turnout, when 51.5 polling was recorded.

The state average in 2004 was 61.4 per cent.

The high-profile Bangalore South constituency, which witnessed a keen electoral battle between BJP’s Ananth Kumar and Congress’ young turk Krishna Byregowda witnessed a turnout of only 50 per cent. Bangalore North, which boasts of having the highest number of voters (21.43 lakh) among the 28 constituencies in the state, recorded only 45 per cent voting.

Again only 45 per cent of the 19 lakh-strong electorate of Bangalore Central decided it will play a significant role in choosing either Amar (P C Mohan), Akbar (Zameer Khan) or Antony (H T Sangliana) to the Lok Sabha.

In contrast, Bangalore Rural and Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha constituencies, which will decide the political fortunes of former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and Veerappa Moily, respectively, had 60 per cent turnout each.
The City also witnessed complaints from Congress candidates who alleged that thousands of names of voters in pockets dominated by the minority community were missing from the voters’ list.

Polling was not marred by violence but voters did register their ire against the political system with some villages staying away from casting their vote.

While the Chikodi Lok Sabha constituency recorded the highest turnout at 63.5 per cent, Raichur witnessed only 42 per cent with 14.86 lakh voters venturing out to exercise their franchise. The high-profile Bangalore South constituency which comprises eight assembly segments—Govindarajnagar, Vijayanagar, Chikpet, Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar, BTM Layout, Jayanagar and Bommanahalli—witnessed a voter turnout of 50 per cent.

The first phase of elections in the state will decide the fate of 271 candidates, including former chief ministers N Dharam Singh, Veerappa Moily and H D Kumaraswamy, BJP leader Ananth Kumar, senior Congressman Mallikarjun Kharge besides six sitting MPs. The six include Ananth Kumar, Suresh Angadi, Ramesh Jigajinagi, Anant Kumar Hedge (all BJP) and Tejasvini Gowda, K H Muniyappa (all Congress).

The remaining 11 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state will go to the polls in second phase of polls to be held on April 30. The results will be out on May 16. The politically sensitive Bellary Lok Sabha constituency recorded a polling percentage of 58.35.

State Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar said polling was peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere. He said 23 polling booths witnessed zero voting with voters boycotting the elections mainly to demonstrate their anger against the lack of progress in developmental work.

Voters at Malghan in Bijapur, five polling stations in Sindhnur in Koppal, one polling booth each in Hiriyura in Chitradurga, Honnanayakanahalli in Channapatna, Sikandarbad in Balki stayed away from polling as a means to draw attention to the poor quality of basic amenities in their localities.

As many as 5,798 voters in Alipura village in Gouribidanur taluk under the Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha constituency boycotted the elections in support of their demand for a CBI inquiry into the alleged murder of three residents of the village in Gujarat. The voters of Ramagondanahalli in Yelahanka boycotted polls in protest against the land acquisition by BDA.

Meanwhile, seizure of cash continued even on polling day, with election officials confiscating Rs 18 lakh from a house at Channapatna. In a tragic incident, a micro-observer in Nelamangala taluk in the Chikkaballapur LS constituency died after a cardiac arrest while on duty.

As many as 41 electronic voting machines malfunctioned in various polling booths and had to be replaced, Vidyashankar said. The state election commission was in the process of receiving form 17A (which records the proceedings in the station) from the presiding officers of all 29,126 polling stations and any decision on repolling would be taken once the documents are scrutinised, he said.


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