“According to initial reports from across the state, voting began at 7 a.m. on a peaceful note and is progressing well amid tight security in 54,261 polling booths,” senior polling official V. Ponnuraju told IANS here.
“About 10-12 percent voting was registered in the first 90 minutes,” Ponnuraju added.Long queues were seen at several booths across Bangalore and other cities and towns in the state even before the polling was scheduled to begin.
Prominent candidates among the early voters included technocrat Nandan Nilekani of the Congress, former Infosys director V. Balakrishnan of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and C. Narayayanswamy of the Congress.
An estimated 46 million (4,62,11,844) voters are expected to decide the political fate of 434 candidates, including 195 independents and 21 women, in all the 28 parliamentary seats, including five reserved for Dalits (SCs) and two for Tribals (STs).
With more than 16 candidates contesting in 11 constituencies, two ballot units will be used in their respective booths.
Bangalore North constituency has the largest electorate – 2.39 million voters, while Udupi-Chickmagalur in the coastal area has the least number of voters – 1.39 million.
Bangalore Central, however, has maximum number of candidates (25) in fray while Gulbarga reserved seat has the minimum – five contestants.
In the high-profile Bangalore South constituency, the Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT) system is being used in all its polling booths for the first time. The voters will be able see to which candidate they have cast the ballot on a slip, which pops up after pressing the button.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order.
About 85,000 personnel, including 20,000 home guards, 104 platoons of para-military forces, 40 companies of Karnataka State Reserve Police and 1,000 civil defence wardens have been deployed across the state.
The poll panel has identified 8,658 very sensitive, 14,440 sensitive booths in all the constituencies.
In the three Bangalore seats (South, North and Central), 12,236 personnel have been deployed as 50 percent of the 6,823 polling booths have been declared sensitive and hyper-sensitive.
The city of nine-million people has around 6.3 million voters.
The poll panel has declared paid holiday in all establishments, including shops, factories and private offices.