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May 05, 2013 at 06:14pm IST

Live: K'taka sees high voter turnout as BJP hopes to retain power

Bangalore: 6:00 pm: Voting has just ended in 223 constituencies in Karnataka.

5:34 pm: Karnataka records 60.58 per cent voter turn out till 5 pm.

4:34 pm: Bangalore Rural records 52.5 per cent voter turnout till 3 pm.

4:32 pm: Bangalore city records 45 per cent voter turnout till 3 pm.

4:16 pm: After an initial burst, voter turnout in the Karnataka Assembly polls lost momentum in the afternoon apparently due to the searing heat, with an estimated 25-30 per cent voters exercising their franchise till 1 pm.

3:32 pm: Karnataka witnesses a voter turnout of 50.75 per cent till 3 pm.

1:33 pm: Other cities in Karnataka are also reporting a good voter turnout.

12:21 pm: Bangalore rural records 25.6 per cent voter turnout till 11 am - the first four hours of polling.

12:10 pm: Voter turnout recorded in Bangalore till 10 am is 15 per cent.

11:45 am: Karnataka records 19.5 per cent voter turnout till 11 am.

11:20 am: Congress workers and supporters of independent candidate and minister Varthur Prakash clash in Kolar.

11:05: 10 per cent voting recording in Karnataka. Bangalore witnesses a voter turnout of 12 per cent.

Polling for the Karnataka Assembly elections began on a strong note on Sunday with a voter turnout of an estimated 15 to 20 per cent in the first three hours. 106-year-old seer of the Tumkur-based famed Siddaganga Mutt, Shivakumar Swamy, was among the early voters. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers M Mallikarjuna Kharge and M Veerappa Moily, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara, BJP State unit President Prahlad Joshi, and Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP) supremo BS Yeddyurappa were among those who voted in the initial hours.

Barring a tiff between a voter and an on-duty policeman in a Bellary booth with the former sustaining minor injuries leading to protests by a section of electorate there, polling was so far peaceful, sources said. At a couple of places, including in Mahadevapura segment in the city, polling was delayed by a few minutes following malfunctioning of electronic voting machines.

Sources in the Election Commission (EC) estimated the poll percentage by 10 am to be in the region of 15-20 per cent. Polling has been extended by an hour and will take place till 6 pm. Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful and smooth conduct of polls, which commenced at 7 am. Enthusiasm of voters was particularly evident in the city, with techies working in the Information Technology sector going out in large numbers to elect their representatives.

Polling is being held in 223 segments, with the one in Periyapatna in Mysore district having been postponed to May 28 following the death of BJP candidate. More than 4.35 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise in the single phase poll. Over 2.5 lakh people are on poll duty. Police personnel deployed on the ground are more than 1.35 lakh, with authorities keep a special vigil in hypersensitive booths with the help of cameras. There are a total of 2940 candidates in the fray.

The big issues in Karnataka

- Drought hit Karnataka this year

- There is an acute shortage of water and power in most parts of the state

- Crumbling infrastructure in Bangalore

- Money power to play a major role in the polls once again

(With additional information from PTI)