MANGALORE: Polling in Naxalite-affected areas in Dakshina Kannada district was peaceful on Sunday.
Kuthlur in Naravi gram panchayat, which is considered as a Naxalite-affected area, witnessed heavy turnout in the morning itself. Of 843 registered voters at booth number 5 of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School in Kuthlur, 511 exercised their franchise before 1pm. Similarly, of 552 voters at booth number 6 at the same school, 331 exercised their franchise before 1pm.
The turnout increased in Kuthlur though the district administration did not provide transportation as assured. The election commission had promised that transportation facility will be made available for voters from rural areas facing Naxalite threat.
Devamma, a voter from Alambe, told TOI that she spent Rs 600 for autorickshaw to bring her family to the polling booth in Kuthlur. “Our house is located inside Kudremukh National Park in Alambe, which is five miles away from the booth. I hired an auto and we came in two trips as there is no bus or any other transportation facility. The government wants us to vote, but no transportation facilities are provided for us to reach booths,” she added.
The booth in Kuthlur also drew attention from people as Vittala Malekudiya, who was in judicial custody for about six months following his arrested over alleged Naxalite abetting, worked as a polling agent for CPM candidate BM Bhat.
The Polling staff and presiding officer at a booth in Pulithady village in Uppinangady of Belthangady constituency did not know that there is provision for NOTA (none of the above) vote under Section 49(O) of the Representation of the People Act. Voter Deepak waited for nearly two hours for Form 17 to cast NOTA vote, but officials failed to provide it. Finally, Deepak was forced to exercise his franchise through EVM.
72.38% voting in literate Dakshina Kannada district
The polling percentage in the literate district of Dakshina Kannada belied expectations as the final figure was in the negative with 1.07% down than that of 2008 polls.
The district recorded a polling percentage of 72.38% as against 73.45% in 2008 polls.
Polling in the district started on expected lines briskly in the morning with a good turnout, but lost momentum midway due to the humid weather and also being a Sunday.
Yes, the humidity was energy sapping which made voters turn indoors after 11 pm, but the voting percentage in all the coastal districts started picking up after 4 pm. The long queues at the polling booths at 5 pm gave hope that the final percentage would be high, if not less than 2008 polls.
The heartening feature of these polls was that there was good voter turnout in Naxalite-affected areas of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.
In DK, Sullia 72, Mangalore City North 67, Moodabidri 70 and Sullia 72 were the constituencies where polling percentage was down by more than 2 percentage points. In Mangalore North, it was down by a whopping 5 percentage points. Puttur was the only constituency which saw a large swing of 3.5% points where former CM DV Sadananda Gowda has put his might against his estranged colleague Shakuntala Shetty (Cong). Puttur BJP has fielded Sanjeeva Matandoor, who is DV’s relative.
Polling in all eight assembly segments of the Dakshina Kannada district was peaceful without any untoward incidents. The only minor scuffle was at Capitanio Polling booth at 4 pm where some BJP party workers prevented students from exercising their franchise alleging they were from outside and not actual voters. The police officials sent them back to get all valid documents.
What was heartening was that the efforts of the district administration seemed to have paid rich dividends in Naxalite-affected areas. The security detail and voters awareness programmes saw heavy voter turnout in Kuthlur and Naravi in Belthangady taluks. The voting was as much as in excess of 64% by 4 pm in those areas. The turnout increased in Kuthlur even though the district administration did not provide transportation as assured. The Election Commission had promised transportation facility for voters from rural areas facing Naxalite threat.
EVM machine malfunction was reported at Kallige booth in Bantwal taluk where Congress candidate Ramanath Rai was to vote. The malfunction was corrected within half an hour. I had heard about the malfunction, so I went elsewhere. When I came back it was almost rectified. I did not have to wait long,” said Rai.
Prominent persons who exercised their franchise on Sunday included Pejawar seer Vishweshateertha, Mangalore Diocese Bishop Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza and Moodabidri seer Swastishree Charukeerti. All the candidates in fray from the national and regional parties voted at their respective polling booths by 8 am.
Key contestants in DK district are N Yogish Bhat (BJP- Mangalore City South), UT Khader (Cong-Mangalore), B Ramanath Rai (Cong-Bantwal), K Abhayachandra Jain (Cong-Moodabidri), Krishna Palemar (BJP-Mangalore City North).
Belthangady 74.57 74.5
Moodbidri 72.54 70
Mangalore City North 72.16 67
Mangalore City South 64.14 64
Mangalore 73.80 73.6
Bantval 78.24 78
Puttur 76.56 80
Sullia (SC) 75.61 72
(voter turnout in percentage)
75.6% voter turnout in Udupi district
Polling in the five assembly constituencies of Udupi district was peaceful on Sunday. The district recorded an impressive 75.6% of voting. In 2008, the turnout was slightly higher at 75.88%.
There was encouraging turnout at the 52 polling booths in 26 villages which came under the Naxalite-affected areas in the district. The six Naxalite-affected polling booths in Hebri recorded an impressive voting of 84.11% by the end of the day, official sources told TOI.
Long queues of voters was a common scene in most of the polling booths in the district during early hours of the day.
Vijayalaxmi, resident of Halladya studying in Manipal and a first-time voter, said she was excited to vote for the first time and felt great to be part of the democratic system. Another voter. Nagaraj Shetty. said that youth must exercise their right to vote as it is an opportunity to cleanse the system.
Saraswathi, 83, and Narasamma Shedthi, 86, after casting their votes at a polling station in Ratpady in Kundapur said that they hired an autorickshaw and came to vote though they believed nothing much would change in future too as they had not benefited in the past.
Some migratory labourers from various parts of North Karnataka who are settled in Udupi were ferried to their native place on Saturday night by the political parties, while many of them did not go as it meant losing a day’s earnings.
Superintendent of police MB Boralingaiah told TOI that there were no untoward incidents in the district and the polling was peaceful.
There are a total of 46 candidates in the fray in the district. Key contestants include Pramod Madhwaraj (Cong-Udupi), Haladi Srinivas Shetty (Ind-Kundapur), Lalaji R Mendon (BJP-Kaup), Vinaya Kumar Sorake (Cong-Kaup), Vasanth Salian (JD-S Kaup).