Bengaluru, April 19: Karnataka saw almost 68 per cent voter turnout in the state's 14 Lok Sabha seats which went to polls on Thursday."The estimated voter turnout at the end of polling in 30,164 booths spanning 14 parliamentary seats is 67.89 per cent," a senior poll official told IANS here.The highest polling -- 80.23 per cent -- was registered in the high-profile Mandya seat where Nikhil Gowda, son of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, is challenged by multilingual actress Sumalatha Ambareesh, contesting as an Independent backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Mandya was followed by Dakshina Kannada with 77.69 per cent, Hassan 77.28 per cent, Tumkur 77.01 per cent, Chikkaballapur 76.27 per cent, Kolar (SC) 75.94 per cent and Udupi-Chikmagalur 75.24 per cent respectively.The lowest polling was recorded in India's tech hub with 50.31 per cent in Bangalore Central, followed by 50.85 per cent in Bangalore North and 54.23 per cent in Bangalore South.In contrast, Bangalore Rural saw 64.09 per cent polling.Polling percentage in the other seats was: Chamarajanagar 73.45 per cent, Chitradurga (SC) 70.59 per cent and Mysore 68.85 per cent.An estimated 2.67 crore voters, including 1.35 crore males and 1.32 crore females were on the electoral rolls to decide the fate of 241 candidates, including 15 women and 133 Independents.In all, 52,112 Electronic Voting Machines were used, with 36,196 controlling units and 37,705 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit machines.Among the constituencies, Bangalore North had the highest number of 31 candidates, followed by 25 in Bangalore South and 22 each in Bangalore Central, Mandya and Mysore.The lowest number of candidates is six in Hassan, followed by 10 in Chamarajnagar, 12 in Udupi-Chikmagalur and 13 in Dakshina Kannada.Unlike in the past elections, the main parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress - are locked in straight contests this time, as the latter entered into a pre-poll tie-up with the ruling coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Congress is in fray 21 and seven by JD-S. In the first phase, Congress has contested from 10 and JD-S from four seats.The BJP is in fray in 13 seats as it is supporting Sumalatha in Mandya.Nikhil, an upcoming Kannada film star, is the grandson of JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, who shifted to contest from Tumkur, paving the way for his other grandson Prajwal Gowda from Hassan, a bastion of the powerful Gowda clan.In India's tech hub, BJP and Congress are again locked in straight contests.Union Minister D.V. Sadananada Gowda has re-contested from Bangalore North for the second time, while its two-time sitting member P.C. Mohan is trying for a hat-trick from the prestigious Bangalore Central.The Congress has fielded Krishna Byre Gowda against Sadananada Gowda in the Bangalore North, where the politically dominant Vokkaliga community are present in large numbers.In the high-profile Bangalore South, the BJP has fielded Tejasvi Surya, in place of former Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who died last November. Kumar represented the seat for a record six times since 1996.Surya, a 28-year-old lawyer in the Karnataka High Court and a member of the RSS, is pitted against B.K. Hariprasad, a Congress Rajya Sabha member.Former Congress ministers M. Veerappa Moily and K.H. Muniyappa contested from Chikkaballapur and Kolar.Polling in the remaining 14 parliamentary seats in the western and northern regions of the state will be held on April 23. Vote count will be on May 23.
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