BENGALURU: After witnessing months of hectic campaigning and leaders — both state and national — fly in and out of their constituencies, people of Karnataka turned out in large numbers to vote in the assembly election on Saturday. Chief Election Officer Sanjiv Kumar said voting across the 222 constituencies that went to polls crossed 70 per cent. In keeping with the trend, rural areas registered more voting than urban constituencies, and traditional high turnout regions of Old Mysuru and Coastal Karnataka did not disappoint. Urban parts, especially the four regions of Bengaluru, recorded the lowest voter turnouts, bringing down the state average.
The Election Commission officials had initially expected the turnout to cross 2013’s figure of 71.45%. But the final count came to 70.91 %. A record of 71.9% was set in 1978. While Ramanagara recorded the highest voter turnout of 80%, Bengaluru South and North recorded a mere 49%. Coastal Karnataka districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada recorded a polling percentage of 73, 75 and 71 respectively.
“Voting percentages indicate the voters’ mood only when there is massive anti-incumbency and considerably high voter turnouts, but these figures are conservative,” said Narendra Pani, political analyst. He said the total voter percentage has seen a spike due to traditionally high-voting regions of competitive politics like Coastal and Southern Karnataka.
Analysts also believe that, going by the voter turnout alone, the current Congress government has no reason to worry. “There is no sign of any wave against it. The numbers in coastal region are also not indicative of anything unsual or spectacular,” Pani said.The numbers in four regions of Bengaluru – Central (51%), North (49%), South (49%) and Urban (51%) — are well below the 2013 figures, a cause of worry for both the BJP and the Congress, which are locked in a close contest.
2018 Overall turnout: 70.91%
Highest voter turnout: Ramanagara 80%
Lowest turnout: Bengaluru North and South 49%
2013 Overall turnout: 71.45%
Constituency with highest turnout: Hosakote (90.97%) in Bengaluru rural district
Constituency with lowest turnout: Sarvagnanagar (50.23%) in Bengaluru city