Tepid voting marks first phase of gram panchayat polls in Karnataka

Voting in the first phase of the two-phase Gram Panchayat polls was held in Karnataka on Tuesday with most districts recording an average turnout till afternoon. A total of 3019 panchayats having 43,238 seats across 117 taluks are voting today in more than 23,000 booths which will seal the fate of 1.17 lakh candidates.

Voting was on between 7 am to 5 pm with one hour later reserved for those affected with Covid-19. The second phase of polls will be held on December 27 with results being declared on December 30. At least 4,377 panchayat wards have already elected their representatives unopposed. The polls are being held on a party-less basis but all parties are looking to have their party workers and sympathisers elected for a majority of GP’s.

Till 11 am, Gokak had recorded 20.52% voting, Belgavi 23.1%, Hukkeri 20.5%, Kittur 23.6% and Khanpur 9.36%. Except in Bidar which is using EVM’s, paper ballots are being used across the rest of the state. EC officials expressed confidence that voting is likely to pick up later in the day. Except for some minor glitches, the voting, by and large, has largely been peaceful.

However, a candidate Damodar Krishnappa Yaligar who was contesting from Garga village in Gadag district is said to have committed suicide after polling began. Villagers told police that Yaligar feared defeat in the polls and had thus taken the extreme step. The police are investigating the matter.

Among the prominent leaders who voted in the Gram Panchayat polls included KPCC president D K Shivakumar who along with his wife exercised his franchise in his native Kanakapura.

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