Bengaluru: Countdown for the Bengaluru civic corporation election on Saturday began with police beefing up security across the city. “We have deployed about 20,000 policemen to ensure peaceful polling in all the 197 civic wards, with additional force in about 700 hyper sensitive and 1,990 sensitive booths,” Police Commissioner N.S. Megharik told reporters here.
Besides 7,000 home guards and 4,000 constables from outside the city, 103 platoons of the state reserve police have been pressed into service. “About 3,000 anti-social elements have been rounded up and 5,000 licensed arms have been surrendered from across the city,” Megharik said. About 12,000 candidates are in the fray representing mainstream political parties – Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), regional outfits such as AIADMK and Vatal Chaluvali Paksha and independents.
Election is being held for 197 of the 198 wards as BJP’s Bharati Ramachandra, 45, has been declared elected from the Hongasandra ward (number 189) after the nomination of Congress candidate K. Maheshwari was rejected for submitting a false caste certificate. “Polling will be held in 6,463 booths spread over 197 wards from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and re-polling, if any, on August 24, while counting of votes will be on August 25,” said state chief election commissioner P.N. Srinivasachari. With 1,500 voters earmarked for each polling station, 9,310 electronic voting machines (EVMs) and 11,635 ballot units will be used for the exercise.
The electorate comprises 73,88,526 voters. In the previous five-year term (2010-2015), the BJP ruled the BBMP for the first time by winning in 116 wards, as against 62 wards by Congress, 14 by JD-S and eight by independents. The state government declared a public holiday to enable the electorate to vote, while police banned liquor sale till Saturday night.