Amidst a few reports of violence, the overall voter turnout stood at 65.69 per cent at 5 pm for the Karnataka Assembly polls, with an hour left for polling on Wednesday, according to Election Commission of India sources.
Reports of stray violence came from polling booths in some parts of the southern Indian state.
At Masabinal village in Basavana Bagewadi taluk of Vijayapura district, some irated villagers destroyed electronic voting machines and VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines.
They also damaged the vehicles of polling officers, after rumours that the officials were “changing” the EVMs and VVPATs. Later the police detained the trouble mongers.
In Mangaluru, a complaint has been lodged at the Bajpe police station by Congress workers who alleged that JDS candidate BA Mohiuddin Bava assaulted them on Tuesday night.
Two Congress workers suffered injuries in the scuffle. Nizam and Hasher have been admitted to a private hospital.
At Chittapur constituency in Kalaburagi district, a polling officer was taken into police custody after a woman complained that he cast her vote in favour of the BJP while helping her with the voting process.
BC Chauhan has been identified as the accused. The complainant Basamma Entuman alleged that she requested Chauhan to vote for Congress candidate Priyank Kharge, but the officer voted for BJP candidate Manikanth Rathode.
As per EC data, a total of 3,632 candidates filed nominations for the Karnataka Assembly elections, while a total of 5,31,33,054 electors are eligible to cast their votes.
There are as many as 58,545 polling stations across Karnataka, while 2,615 candidates are facing the litmus test in the hustings.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for high voter turnout in Karnataka, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged voters to free the state from “40 percent commission sarakara”.
The majority mark to form the government is 113 seats.
Among the electors, 2,67,28,053 are male, 2,64,00,074 female and 4,927 others, while among the candidates 2,430 are male, 184 female and one from a third gender.
As many as 11,71,558 are young voters, while 5,71,281 are persons with disabilities (PWDs) and 12,15,920 are aged above 80.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa were first among the lots to have cast their votes in Bengaluru and Shikaripura.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also cast his vote at Shiggaon constituency in Haveri district. Before casting his vote, the CM visited Hanuman Mandir in Hubballi and offered prayers and also visited a Jain Temple and paid obeisance to Jain Tirthankaras.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi also cast his vote at a polling booth in Hubballi, while AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge cast his vote in Kalaburagi district.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his wife Chennamma, KPCC President DK Shivakumar, LoP Siddaramaiah, Jagdish Shettar, HD Kumaraswamy and V Somanna among others cast their votes at their respective constituencies.
Kannada cine tar Shiva Rajkumar and his wife, and JDS leader Geetha Shivarajkumar cast their votes in respective constituencies. Actor Prakash Raj also cast his vote at St Joseph’s School in Shanti Nagar.
Several actors also cast their votes. Amulya and her husband cast their votes at a polling booth at RR Nagar in Bengaluru. Ganesh, his wife, and actor Ramesh Aravind also cast their votes in the same constituency.
Notably, a bride exercised her franchise in Udupi. Infosys founder Narayan Murthy and Padma Shri awardee Sudha Murty were also among early voters in Bengaluru.
While the ruling BJP is aiming to break a 38-year jinx and retain its southern fortress, the Congress is seeking to dethrone the ruling party to give itself a much-needed boost, and momentum to position itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The high-decibel public campaign came to an end on May 8 evening amidst all political parties making their last-ditch effort to attract voters on May 8.