- 44.98% polling recorded at Nanjangud and 40.04% at Gundlupet when we went to press.
- Mahadevanapura village in Nanjangud boycotts by-poll.
- Counting of votes on Apr. 13.
Nanjangud/ Gundlupet – Polling to the Nanjangud and Gundlupet by-elections began at 7 am this morning at 236 booths in Nanjangud and 250 booths in Gundlupet. The voting in both constituencies began on a dull note but picked up pace by 10 am and by the time we went to press, Nanjangud recorded 44.98 percent voting and Gundlupet 40.04 percent.
Voting will end at 5 pm today and after the voting process, the booth officials and returning officers will have to de-assemble the Electronic Voting Machines, control units and the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units, pack them and ship them to JSS First Grade College on Deveerammanahalli Road in Nanjangud where the strong room has been set up. Counting of votes will be held on Apr. 13.
Nanjangud constituency has 11 candidates, including Congress and BJP, in the fray. While BJP has fielded former Minister and Dalit leader V. Sreenivasa Prasad, Congress has fielded Kalale Keshavamurthy.
Seven candidates are in fray in Gundlupet. While BJP candidate is C.S. Niranjan Kumar, Congress has fielded late Minister H.S. Mahadevaprasad’s wife Dr. Geetha Mahadevaprasad.
In Nanjangud, there are 2,00,498 voters including 1,01,267 men and 99,231 women and in Gundlupet, there are 2,00,862 voters including 1,00,144 men, 1,00,701 women and 17 others.
In Nanjangud over 15 VVPAT machines and some control units were replaced as they encountered technical glitches at the mock voting that was conducted before the polling began. In Gundlupet, eight VVPATs were replaced as they malfunctioned as soon as voting began. This led to a delay of around 30 minutes and people had to wait in queues to cast their votes.
POLL BOYCOTT: In Nanjangud, around 600 voters of Mahadevanapura boycotted the voting as they alleged that they had no basic facilities including houses and drinking water. The voters were supposed to vote in Veeradevanapura booth that is around 2 kms from the village. The village has over 700 families and most of them are Marathis, Muslims and a few nomadic tribes.
As soon as the word spread that the villages have boycotted the polls, Congress and BJP party workers rushed to the village and tried to convince the voters. The irate voters refused to budge despite many assurances. However, only a handful of them agreed to vote.
FREEBIES SEIZED: At a few polling booths in Nanjangud freebies including shawls and other materials were stored outside the venue to be distributed among the voters. Observing this the Police and election officers asked party workers to leave the place and canvass beyond 100 metres from the polling booth. They also seized the freebies.
Ten flying squads, 16 Sector Magistrates, one video surveillance team, one video viewing team, 45 mobile Police teams, 15 check-posts, 80 Police videographers and 8 body-worn cameras ensured peaceful and incident-free voting in Nanjangud. In addition, 170 micro Observers have been appointed by the Election Commission and 20 hyper-sensitive booths had live webcast of voting proceedings and all the booths had video recording facilities.
POLL CODE VIOLATION: Nanjangud Congress candidate Kalale Keshavamurthy came with a party shawl draped around his neck to the Panchayat Lokashikshana polling booth to cast his vote. Seeing this, Model Code of Conduct Officer Raghavendra booked a case against Keshavamurthy for poll code violation under Section 130 of Representation of the People Act that attracts a maximum fine of Rs. 250.
INK CONFUSION: Several voters were marked with indelible ink on their right hand forefinger while there was a clear instruction from the Election Commission that left hand forefinger must be marked. The incident took place at Booth 49 in Nanjangud. Officials later realised their mistake and amends were made.