Live: Karnataka voting sees 60 percent turnout as of 5pm

5.49 pm: Over 60 percent cast their votes in Karnataka as of 5pm

Over 60 percent of the 43.6 million voters cast their ballots till 5pm in the 14th Karnataka assembly polls Sunday to decide the fate of the first BJP government in south India, an official said here.

In Bangalore, which has earned notoriety for low polling, the balloting pace remained slow with only around 45 percent of the city's seven million voters exercising their franchise, an election official told reporters.

Balloting, which began across the state at 7 am, ends at 6 pm.

"Voting has been peaceful though there were protests in some places over missing names or malfunctioning electronic voting machines or heated exchange of words among supporters of various contestants," a Karnataka police spokesperson told reporters in Bangalore.

Election officials said that in a few villages in north Karnataka, people had stayed away from voting protesting against lack of basic facilities like drinking water.

The polling began on a brisk note, despite hot weather conditions across the state. The votes will be counted May 8.

4.29 pm: 40 percent polling in Karnataka as of 2pm

About 40 percent of the 43.6 million voters in Karnataka had cast their ballots as of 2pm in the 14th Karnataka assembly polls Sunday to decide the fate of the first BJP government in south India, an official told IANS.

In Bangalore, which has earned notoriety for low polling, the balloting pace had yet not picked up as only 30 percent of the city's seven million voters exercised their franchise, an election official told reporters.

"Polling is progressing in a peaceful manner in the state and around 40 percent voting has taken place by 2 p.m.," the spokesperson said.

Election officials said in a few villages in north Karnataka people had stayed away from voting protesting against lack of basic facilities like drinking water.

The polling began on a brisk note, despite hot weather conditions across the state. The votes will be counted on 8 May.

(IANS)

3.10 pm: Searing heat slowing down Karnataka voter turnout

After an initial burst, voter turnout in the Karnataka Assembly polls lost momentum in the afternoon apparently due to the searing heat, with an estimated 25-30 per cent voters exercising their franchise as of 1pm.

Polling had begun on a strong note at 7 am, with turnout between 15 to 20 per cent in the first three hours.

Reuters

Reuters

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and 106-year-old seer of the Tumkur-based famed Siddaganga Mutt, Shivakumar Swamy, were among the early voters.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers M Mallikarjuna Kharge and M Veerappa Moily, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara, BJP State unit President Prahlad Joshi, and Karnataka Janatha Paksha supremo B S Yeddyurappa were among those who voted in the initial hours.

Barring a tiff between a voter and an on-duty policeman in a Bellary booth with the former sustaining minor injuries leading to protests by a section of electorate there, polling was largely peaceful, sources said.

At a couple of places, including in Mahadevapura segment in the city, polling was delayed by a few minutes following malfunctioning of electronic voting machines.

"I am very happy with the arrangements made by the Election Commission, the way in which they have enlightened the people about the need for voting and I am hoping for a better voting in the election, improved voter percentage", Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, told reporters.

Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful and smooth conduct of polls.

Polling is being held in 223 segments, with the one in Periyapatna in Mysore district having been postponed to May 28 following the death of BJP candidate.

Over 2.5 lakh people are on poll duty. Police personnel deployed on the ground are more than 1.35 lakh, with authorities keep a special vigil in hypersensitive booths with the help of cameras. There are a total of 2940 candidates in the fray.

Election Commission and several NGOs had conducted vigorous campaigns in recent weeks to encourage people to vote. In the 2008 elections, voter turn-out in the State was 64.91 per cent. The highest voting percentage in Karnataka history was in 1978, when it recorded 71.9.

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said recently the endeavour is to take it to 75 per cent.

(PTI)

2.45 pm: Clashes reported in Kolar, Four arrested

As polling continues in Karnataka, reports are coming in of clashes in Kolar between Congress workers and supporters of Independent candidate and minister Varthur Prakash.

One India news reported that violence broke out at booth 122 after Congress supporters allegedly resorted to goondaism. It added that four corporators were arrested although one called Prasad Babu escaped.

2.15 pm: 15 percent voting as of 11am in Karnataka

Just about 15 percent of the 43.6 million voters have cast their ballot till 11 am in the 14th Karnataka assembly polls on Sunday, an official said here.

“Polling is on in a peaceful manner across the state and about 15 percent voting has taken place by 11 am,” a spokesperson of the state election authorities told reporters. (More here)

2.00 pm: We will get absolute majority, says Yeddyurappa

Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has said that he is confident of getting an absolute majority in the ongoing state assembly polls. Speaking to media in Shimoga, Karnataka, Yeddyurappa said, “Here I will get absolute majority. We will form the government. We will be the single largest party in the polls”.