Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka: Phase 1 marred by boycotts; unrest; 14 seats record 69.23% voter turnout

Mandya recorded the highest turnout of 81.48 percent and Bangalore Central was the lowest with 52.81 percent as per provisional estimates. ECI is expected to provide actual figures after compilation.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 26, 2024 | 10:33 PM Updated Apr 26, 2024 | 10:33 PM

Karnataka 2024 Lok Sabha Polls Chamarajanagar EVMs Boycott

Tensions prevailed in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district on Friday, 26 April, as dismayed residents of the Indiganatha village not only ransacked a polling station but also reportedly set Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on fire.

The Lok Sabha elections are being conducted in seven phases across the country — between 19 April and 1 June. The second overall phase was on Friday.

The day also saw the first phase of the elections in Karnataka, with 14 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats going to polls. The remaining 14 will see voting in the overall third phase — on 7 May.

Related: Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 2 ends

The overall situation

The polling went on mostly peacefully across Karnataka until Friday afternoon.

Then, police were forced to lathi-charge the villagers to quell the escalating tensions in the Indiganatha village of the Hanur taluka in the Chamarajanagar district.

In Kolar, people of the Beli Benniganahalli village boycotted the polling over the recent setting-up of an MSIL liquor shop there.

Even the efforts of polling officials to convince the villagers did not yield fruit as the locals remained firm on their decision.

There are reports of people boycotting elections in the Chitradurga and Chikkaballapura districts as well. Apart from this, an on-duty poll official breathed last after suffering cardiac arrest in the Challakere taluka of Chitradurga.

On Friday, Karnataka recorded approximately 69.23 percent voter turnout, according to provisional figures by Election Commission of India.

Mandya recorded the highest turnout of 81.48 percent and Bangalore Central was the lowest with 52.81 percent.

Also Read: EC books Tejasvi Surya for ‘seeking votes on grounds of religion’

Unrest in Chamarajanagar

Five villages — Indiganatha, Mendare, Tulasikere, Tekane, and Padsalnatha — under the MM Hills Gram Panchayat in the Hanur taluka of the Chamarajanagar district boycotted polling on Friday over the lack of basic amenities.

Among over 1,306 voters in these villages, only two exercised their franchise. The rest chose to stay away, citing a continued lack of basic amenities.

The villagers said they did not have access to proper drinking water, roads, electricity, and mobile networks.

Violence broke out after poll officials convinced some people to cast their votes, which enraged the villagers.

It led to an altercation that quickly gave way to violence, with several villagers allegedly taking the law into their hands as they damaged the polling station and reportedly set EVMs on fire.

Several villagers, poll officials, and even police personnel were said to have been injured in the violence. A case was registered in this regard at the MM Hills Police Station.

After the situation returned to normal, the poll officials reached the village with fresh EVMs and again tried to persuade the voters. However, the villagers remained firm on their decision.

When South First tried to reach Deputy Commissioner Shilpa Nag and Superintendent of Police Padmini Sahoo, neither responded to the calls.

Also Read: Bengaluru doctor saves woman voter’s life on polling day

Boycott over alcohol shop

The residents of the Beli Benniganahalli village in the Kolar district boycotted polling on Friday as a show of opposition to a newly-opened MSIL liquor shop.

After the poll officials failed to convince the voters to change their mind on polling, enraged villagers from all age groups — especially women — staged a protest.

In all, 500 voters live in the village. They said they would not exercise their franchise until the liquor shop was shut.

Local reports said men in an intoxicated state harassed several women since the liquor shop opened at the entrance to the village.

The men increased liquor consumption after the shop was set up, added the local reports.

Also Read: FIR against BJP candidate K Sudhakar; ₹4.8 crore seized in Chikkaballapura

Voter turnout

In the second phase of the polling for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, 14 parliamentary seats in Karnataka witnessed an approximate turnout of 69.23 percent, according to provisional numbers.

The polling witnessed moderate response in most constituencies except the four seats in Bengaluru, which reported a voter turnout less than the state’s average.

From first-time voters to women to senior citizens, people turned out in good numbers across the state to participate in the biggest democratic exercise in the world.

As per the provisional numbers published by the Election Commission of India, Mandya recorded the highest polling with 81.48 percent, followed by Kolar with a turnout of 78.07 percent and Tumkur with 77.70 percent.

Dakshina Kannada recorded 77.43 percent voter turnout, Hassan reported 77.51 percent, Udupi-Chikmagalur reported 76.06 percent, Chikkaballapur 76.82 percent, Chamarajanagar 76.59 percent, Chitradurga 73.11 percent, and Mysore 70.45 percent.

Meanwhile, voters of Bengaluru did not surprise many as the turnout in Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bangalore Rural, and Bangalore Central was less than the state average.

Bangalore South recorded 53.15 percent, Bangalore North 54.42 percent, Bangalore Central 52.81 percent, and Bangalore Rural 67.29 percent voter turnout.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)