The Election Commission has put the interim voterturnout for Karnataka Assembly elections at 70%. However, this figure will be revised once data from all voting centres arrives.
Earlier, around 61.25 per cent of the electorate had voted till 5 pm. 37 per cent had voted till 1 pm, while around 11 per cent had exercised their right in the first two hours of the day.
Karnataka, which is witnessing a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and the JD(S), has never witnessed the same government coming to power a second time since 1989.
Till 1 pm, Dakshin Kannada had witnessed the highest voter turnout at 47 per cent. Located in the district is Mangaluru, which has a history connected to Tipu Sultan.
Queues were seen outside poll booths since morning, a time which many chose to beat the rise of temperature later in the day. For the last couple of days, parts of south interior Karnataka have been witnessing rains during the evening hours.
Senior citizens were seen along with first time voters in good numbers at various polling stations.
All of the big names in the fray have cast their votes, including incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The 69-year-old Congress leader is aiming to become the first Karnataka CM to get a second term in office. He is contesting from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district and Badami in Bagalkot district of the state.
Siddaramaiah had won in the last two elections from Varuna, a constituency in Mysuru he vacated for his son Yathindra. The CM exercised his right to vote from this constituency.
BJP’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa was among the first to vote in the elections which will give an insight into the political future of the BJP and the Congress.
Yeddyurappa, who is contesting from Shikaripura in Shivamogga (Shimoga) district, is looking for a second term in office. He was the CM from 2008 to 2011, after the BJP first came to power in the southern state.
The third major power in the play is HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) CM candidate and the son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda. Like Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy, too, is contesting from two seats – Chennapatna and Ramanagara.
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Deve Gowda along with wife Chennamma cast their votes at Paduvalahippe in Hassan district.
G Parameshwara, the chief of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, cast his vote in Yaggere in Tumakuru.
Film actors Ramesh Arvind, Ravichandran and the scion of Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar were among the prominent personalities to cast their votes early today. Wadiyar is voting for the first time.
Polling began at 7 am for 222 out of 224 seats and will continue till 6 pm.
Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru has been countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar. The Election Commission has also deferred the polls for Raja Rajeswari Nagar constituency to 28 May after controversy erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment.
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray – more than 2400 men and over 200 women.
Reports of EVM malfunctioning also emerged. Chamrajnagar was one of the constituencies hit by EVM malfunctioning.