Bengaluru: Seemingly defying the pandemic fears, the voter turnout for the Legislative Council polls to four constituencies on Wednesday registered almost 20 per cent rise compared to 2014.
According to officials, polling began at 8 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., and was peaceful across the four constituencies.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had modified the timings due to the pandemic situation from the usual 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.
According to a statement released by the Chief Electoral Officer’s office, the Karnataka North-East Teachers’ (Kalaburagi) constituency recorded a poll percentage of 73.32 per cent, compared to 60.3 per cent recorded in 2014, up by 13 per cent.
The Bangalore Teachers’ constituency registered 66.2 per cent polling, while the figures were 44.9 per cent in 2014, up by 21.3 per cent.
The statement further said that Karnataka South-East Graduates’ (Bengaluru) constituency recorded a poll pecentage of 74.84 per cent compared to 52.25 per cent in 2014, up by 22.59 per cent. Karnataka West Graduates’ (Belagavi) constituency registered 70.17 polling, while the figures were 49.48 per cent in 2014, up by 20.63 per cent.
The elections assume significance for the BJP as it lacks a majority in the Council to pass crucial bills. The ruling BJP could not pass the farm bills and labour reforms amendment bills in the recently held legislative session as it could not get through the Upper House despite getting them passed in the Assembly.
The Council polls were necessitated by after the constituencies fell vacant due to the retirement of R. Chowda Reddy Thoopalli of JD(S), S.V. Sankanur of BJP, Sharanappa Mattur of Congress and Puttanna of JD(S).
As many as 40 candidates are in the fray in these four constituencies. Among them are the four whose retirement on June 30 warranted the elections. There are 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies.
Security was beefed up at the polling stations and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were also imposed in and around the booths.
The Election Commission had directed the returning officers to ensure that wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing are followed by the staff as well as the voters.
Following the guidelines, arrangements were been made for hand sanitisers and thermal screening at all the booths.
In the 75-member Legislative Council, Congress has 28 members, BJP 27, Janata Dal (Secular) 14, one Independent, one Chairman while four seats are vacant.