Voting begins for Bengaluru civic polls, Congress prestige on stake

Bangalore :The civic body polls in the country’s IT capital is finally underway, after much dithering with the ruling Congress investing heavy prestige in the electoral battle.

The election is being held after a prolonged court battle, as Siddaramaiah led government sought to defer it on grounds of trifurcating the civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Opposition BJP and JDS had brought the government in the line of fire, calling its move on trifurcation as an attempt to put off the polls, as the ruling party was unsure of its victory.

Amidst resistance from opposition parties, the government has passed the bill trifurcating BBMP in the legislature; it is now before the Governor for his assent.

While elections to the 198 wards of BBMP, counting of votes will be taken up on August 25.

Total number of polling stations for BBMP elections will be 6,733 for 71,80,027 voters, the State Election Commission said, adding that Electronic Voting Machines would be used for the polls and 32,176 election staff will be on duty.

A total of 1,121 candidates are in the fray. One candidate from BJP has already been elected unopposed.

Officials said 1,700 booths have been identified as hyper-sensitive and about 19,000 police personnel would be on duty for the smooth conduct of polls.

They said polls would be monitored through a mobile based system for the first time, where officials at the booth level have been asked to send messages in a prescribed format to the server on an hourly basis.

While Union Ministers like Venkhaiah Naidu, Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar, and a gamut of leaders from the state unit, including former Chief Minister Yeddyurappa campaigned for BJP, Congress had Siddaramaiah himself with his cabinet campaigning for party candidates.

Congress had also roped in state in-charge Digvijay Singh and party’s leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjurna Kharge.

As Congress is seeking votes in the name of its pro people work and alleged corruption by BJP in BBMP during its rule, BJP is still trying to ride on the Modi wave in the city.

JD(S), MIM, SP, BSP, CPI, CPI (M) are also in the fray, along with good number of independent candidates.