BENGALURU:Weekday polling coupled with showers crippled voting in Jayanagar assembly constituency on Monday – the last of the 224 seats in Karnataka to go to polls. Number of senior citizens trumped the count of youngsters lining up outside polling stations in the constituency that registered a total voter turnout of just 55 per cent.
While lack of arrangements for poll staff and complaints of malfunctioning EVMs were reported from a few places, the voting process in Jayanagar went off smoothly amid tight security. Hectic campaigning in the constituency had hit a break after the demise of BJP’s candidate B N Vijayakumar resulting in the countermanding of elections.
76-year-old Vijayaraghavan walked into a polling booth in Jayanagar 8th block with his sister-in-law Saroja Sridhar, a 77-year-old who has been voting for the last 32 years. “It is disheartening that very few youngsters are turning up. They should shoulder the responsibility of democracy. They should come out and vote because they guide the path of the government,” said Saroja Sridhar.
While many establishments in Jayanagar constituency declared a holiday for its employees to encourage voting, many private company employees including those with MNCs seem to have missed out on voting since it was a weekday. “My company issued a circular that voters from Jayanagar constituency can report to work in the second half of the day. Pick-up buses came later in the day too, to encourage voting,” said Narahari, an engineer with a tech giant in Electronics city. “I expect my MLA to clear slums, provide a solution to garbage problem, and ensure safety,” said Vijayaraghavan, a senior citizen.
Lines outside polling booths in Jayanagar had more voters above the age of 45 through the day. The results for the seat will be announced on Wednesday, June 13. The straight fight between the BJP’s B N Prahlad and Congress’ Sowmya Reddy has become a matter of prestige for both parties. Winning the seat will take the BJP’s total to 105 while Congress will hit 80 if it manages to win the Jayanagar seat.
Voting that began at 7 AM on Monday saw a voter turnout of 10 per cent till 9 AM. At noon just about 22.2 per cent voters had turned up at polling booths. While 34.05 per cent voting was registered till 1 PM a drop in turnout was witnessed till 3 PM when turnout stood at a mere 42.6 per cent.By the end of scheduled time, barely 55 per cent of voters had cast their ballot in the constituency. The voter turnout average for Bengaluru in this assembly election stood at 54.72 per cent and Jayanagar was slightly above this.
Two ballot units, one control unit and two VVPAT machines were replaced after they developed glitches during voting.The election to Jayanagar seat saw hectic campaigning by the BJP as well as the Congress. The state will hold bypolls for Ramanagara, which was vacated by H D Kumaraswamy, and Jamkhandi whose newly elected legislator Siddu Nyamagouda was killed in a road accident.