Bengaluru: Around 81 per cent voting was recorded in the second and final phase of polling in 109 taluks for 2,709 gram panchayat seats in Karnataka amid the Covid pandemic, an election official said on Sunday.
“Polling was peaceful in all the 109 taluks where 81 per cent of the 1.4 crore electorate cast paper ballots except in the northern Bidar district where electronic voting machines were used as in the first phase of voting on December 22,” State Election Commission (SEC) Commissioner B. Basavaraj told IANS here.
In the 29 of the 30 districts where polling was held in the second phase under Covid guidelines, the highest percentage (91.86) of voting was registered in Bengaluru Rural and lowest (69.51 per cent) in Kodagu.
“As many as 122 Covid patients, including 38 in Chikkaballapur, 23 in Tumakuru, 22 in Hassan and 20 in Dakshina Kannada exercised their franchise between 4-5 pm, as they were allowed to vote in the last hour,” said Basavaraj.
Elaborate arrangements were made in all the 20,728 booths for free and fair elections.
Voters, who had to be masked, were allowed to enter the booth one at a time after thermal screening to ensure social distancing and prevent the virus spread.
In all, 1,05,431 candidates are in fray after 3,697 candidates were declared elected unopposed ahead of Sunday’s polling.
“There are more than 50 per cent women candidates in the fray, contesting under reserved and general categories. More women also get elected in both the categories,” Basavaraj said.
Though the local body elections are not contested on party symbols or tickets, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) will claim victory based on the loyalty and affinity of the respective candidates to them.
“The candidates are contesting on their names and not on any party symbol. Many of them may be members of the respective parties or owe allegiance to the ruling or opposition parties,” added Basavaraj.
Over 80 per cent turnout was recorded in the first phase of polling in 3,019 local bodies in 117 taluks on December 22.
A total of 1.17 lakh candidates were in fray in the first phase after 4,377 were declared elected unopposed ahead of the polling.
Vote count for both phases of polling is on December 30.