Bengaluru: Around 46 percent of the 74 lakh electorate voted on Saturday in 197 wards of the Bengaluru civic corporation across the city amid tight security, a poll official said. Barring stray incidents and heated arguments by cadres and supporters of rival political parties, polling in 197 of the 198 civic wards was by and large peaceful. “As per initial reports from 6,463 polling stations across the city, 46-47 percent of voting was recorded till 5 p.m. The final figure may go up two-three percent, as there was a last minute rush of voters in several booths around 5 p.m. due to moderate to heavy rains in many wards in the evening,”. During the 2010 civic poll, the voting was 44 percent in 198 wards.
The century-old Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase civic wards to 198 from 100. The day-long election was held in 197 wards, as the BJP’s Bharati Ramachandra, 45, was declared elected from the Hongasandra ward (number 189) after the nomination papers of Congress candidate K. Maheshwari were rejected on August 13 for submitting a false caste certificate. Delimitation of the wards on the basis of the 2011 population census, with 50 percent of them reserved for women, has forced political parties to field wives or relatives of former corp-orators as contestants in many wards.
Though polling began at 7 a.m. and was dull initially, it picked up momentum post-noon and 23-25 percent voting was registered till 2 p.m. across the city, The state government declared a public holiday to enable the electorate to vote, while police banned liquor sale till Saturday night across the city. Re-polling, if any, will be held on Monday and counting will take place on August 25. In all, 1,120 candidates, including 197, 198 and 187 from the BJP, the ruling Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) respectively, a dozen from regional outfits like Vatala Chaluvali Paksha, AIADMK and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and 399 Independents, including many as rebels are in the fray.
In the previous five-year term (2010-2015), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning 116 wards, as against 62 wards by the Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by Independents. On the Supreme Court’s directive, the revised polling date (August 22) was fixed on July 16 and the BBMP commissioner notified the election schedule on August 3, with the last date for filing nominations on August 10, scrutiny on August 11 and the last date for withdrawal on August 13.