Mysore/Mysuru: The voting for the Biennial Legislative Council Polls from South Graduates Constituency began this morning amidst tight Police security and all other poll measures.
The Constituency comprises four districts — Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar. There are a total of 19 candidates in the fray, including M.V. Ravishankar of BJP, H.K. Ramu of JD(S), Madhu G. Madegowda of Congress, Prasanna N. Gowda, who is backed by KRRS, DSS, AAP and other like-minded organisations, former MLA and Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha.
The Constituency has 1,41,961 voters, including 82,505 men, 59,432 women and 24 others. The voting is of preferential marking type and every voter is required to choose their candidate in order of preference by marking only in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 etc.) and not in words. The voting for this election was through ballot papers that contained the name and symbols of all the 19 candidates in the fray.
Though the voting, which commenced at 8 am in 150 centres spread across the four districts, began on a sedate note, it picked up momentum as hours passed by and about 21 percent voting was recorded till noon.
The poll authorities, who a couple of days ago had extended the polling period by an hour (8 am to 5 pm instead of 8 am to 4 pm) following demands by political parties, candidates and the voters, are expecting a higher voter turnout this time.
Mysuru district, which has the highest number of voters (58,262) also had the biggest number of polling booths (66), including 43 in Mysuru city alone, followed by Mandya with 45 booths, 27 in Hassan and 12 in Chamarajanagar.
The poll authorities had identified a total of 17 booths as hyper-sensitive (13 in Mandya and 2 each in Hassan and Mysuru) and webcasting was done in all these booths, while in the case of all other booths, CCTV cameras were installed at several points in each of them.
Tight Police security was provided around all the polling centres for ensuring free and fair polls. Candidates were allowed to erect their shamianas for guiding the voters only at a distance of about 200 mts from the polling booth. All the voters were required to present at least one of the documents listed by the Election Commission as proof of their identity.
Though there are 19 candidates in the fray, with nearly a dozen independents, the Constituency, at the outset, seems to be a four-cornered contest between the BJP, Congress, JD(S) and KRRS backed candidate.
The candidates in the fray are: M.V. Ravishankar of BJP, Madhu G. Madegowda of Congress, H.K. Ramu of JD(S), Rafatullah Khan of SDPI, Vatal Nagaraj of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, N. Veerabhadraswamy of RPI, Dr. B.H. Channakeshavamurthy (backed by BSP), Dr. J. Arunkumar, C. Kavyashri, Puttaswamy, Prasanna N.Gowda (backed by KRS, AAP, DSS etc.) K.P. Prasannakumar, M. Mahesh, Dr. J.C. Ravindra, N. Rajendrasingh Babu, S. Ramu, N.S. Vinay, Dr. H.L. Venkatesh and H.P. Sujatha.
The polling will end at 5 pm and the ballot papers will be brought from all the polling booths under Police security, to Maharani’s Women’s Commerce and Management College on Valmiki road in Paduvarahalli in the city, where they will be kept in strong rooms.
The counting of votes will be taken up at 8 am on June 15 and the results will be announced the same day after all rounds of counting.
Many graduates return disappointed
The LC polls today had a flip side too, as the names of many graduates, who have been casting their ballots for decades, were found missing from the electoral rolls, much to their astonishment and disappointment.
Sources said that the missing of old voters is chiefly attributed to the preparation of an entirely new electoral roll over 6 months ago following a direction from the Election Commission.
Pointing out that old voters may have been left out this time for want of renewal or submission of a fresh set of documents, the sources said many old voters, who visited the booths, were unaware of the renewal process or preparation of fresh list of voters and as such they had remained quiet thinking that they can vote as they had exercised their franchise many times in the past.
Adding to the confusion, the poll authorities had shifted the polling booths of many voters to booths that came under the address of voters as mentioned in their Aadhar cards. This apart, many other eligible graduates did not bother to check the electoral rolls for their names after submitting the required documents, the sources said, adding that the names of thousands of old voters in the Constituency may have been missing this time.
BJP candidate M.V. Ravishankar and JD(S) candidate H.K. Ramu exercised their franchise at Kuvempunagar Government Higher Primary School near Bhanavi Hospital, while MP Pratap Simha cast his ballot at Ramakrishna Vidya Kendra, Ramakrishnanagar, City BJP President T.S. Srivatsa and former MLC Siddaraju at Srikantha Balika High School in Agrahara, K.R. MLA S.A. Ramdas and Suttur Mutt Seer Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji at Balabodhini School in Chamundipuram and KPCC Women’s Wing State President Dr. Pushpa Amarnath at a polling booth in Hunsur town.