Newly weds to the newly born, group of PwDs, transgenders and tribals amongst enthusiastic voters seen across Karnataka today

Newlyweds to the newly born, group of PwDs, transgenders & tribals in specifically set up ethnic polling booths added to the vibrant and largely peaceful polling held today, across 224 ACs spread over 58,545 polling stations (including auxiliary PS), for General Elections to the State Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. Voters across the state were seen participating enthusiastically and casting their franchise in the festival of democracy.

Newly weds, brides casting their vote at the polling stations
25 PwD Voters from Kondajji village of Harihara AC came together and casted their vote in Davanagere Dist.

Tentative figures of voting of nearly 65.69% (5pm) were reported from Karnataka. Voters who reach Polling stations till the end of poll hour are allowed to cast their vote. Many voters were seen to be in queue at 6pm also. Final figures will be known by 11.05.2023 after scrutiny of form 17A. Advance planning and extensive monitoring by the Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Shri Anup Chandra Pandey and Shri Arun Goel planned and monitored smooth conduct of elections in the state with no reports of repoll necessitated in any of the polling stations as yet.

Polling was also held today 04-Jalandhar (SC) PC of Punjab, 07-Jharsuguda AC of Odisha, 395- Chhanbey (SC) AC of Uttar Pradesh to fill the vacancies due to death of sitting candidates; 34-Suar AC of Uttar Pradesh due to disqualification of sitting candidate and 1 adjourned poll in 23-Sohiong(ST) AC of Meghalaya due to death of contesting candidate. Voting percentages of 50.27% for Jalandhar; 68.12% from Jharsuguda; 39.51% from Chhanbey (SC) ; 41.78% from Suar and 91.39% from Sohiong(ST) was reported by 5pm.

Glimpses of voters from the bye polls in Meghalaya, Punjab & Odisha

Meticulous planning, regular exhaustive reviews with Chief Secretaries/DGs of Police of neighbouring States and other enforcement agencies by the Commission ensured smooth, free, fair, inclusive and accessible elections in a single phase across 224 ACs in Karnataka today. Webcasting facility was available in over 30,000 Polling stations. Adequate CAPF & micro observers were deployed at critical polling stations. CEC Shri Kumar while thanking the voters of Karnataka noted that, “in the past 6 elections held in the state of Gujarat, HP, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and including Karnataka, out of over 1.26 lakh polling stations, repolls were held only in 4 PS in Nagaland.”

As part of the Commission’s initiative to provide a comfortable experience to women voters, 996 All-Women Managed Polling Stations were set up which had all women polling staff including women security personnel. Cheerful images of brides coming to vote early in the day itself at the polling stations were noticed. Enthusiasm to honor the right to franchise was such that a rare incident was reported from Kurlagindi village of Ballari. A 23 yr old woman gave birth to a baby in a polling booth. Female officials and women voters helped to deliver the baby.

For the first time, Home voting facility was provided for octogenarian and PwD voters with benchmark disability. Form 12 D was filled by 80,250 senior citizen (80yrs+) voters; 19,279 PwDs and 15,328 essential service personnel in Karnataka. Of these, a total of 94,931 senior citizens and PwDs cast their vote from Home. Transgender voters too participated enthusiastically casting their vote. All facilitation provided at the polling stations including assured minimum facilities like ramps, drinking water, toilets, volunteers and wheelchairs.

Child care centres were arranged across all polling stations  – glimpses from  Haveri district to facilitate women voters with kids included here.

737 Theme based and ethnic Model Polling stations were set up. At 239 Polling stations set up in the state, voters  were greeted by PwD staff. As part of ECI initiative to inspire young voters to participate in the festival of democracy, 286 Polling Stations set up were managed by the youngest available staff. There were over 11.71 lakh first time voters (18-19) registered in the state.

Wide use of cVigil app was reported to register and resolve complaints within a response time of 100 minutes. Till May 9, 2023 (5 PM), out of a total 18,321 complaints received, 16,551 were found to be correct and have been disposed of. Maximum complaints were received from Bagalkot (3511) and Chitradurga (2314) districts while least complaints were received from Chamrajnagar (20) and Yadgir (35) districts.  Amongst the different categories, maximum complaints were received for posters/banners put up without permission ( 10,695). Out of 439 complaints received for property defacement, 436 were found to be correct; Out of over 700 complaints received for money, liquor and gifts distribution, 443 complaints were found correct. Out of 104 complaints received for firearms display and intimidation, 83 were found to be correct and acted upon. 

Nearly 25,000 permissions were granted to political parties through SUVIDHA portal for facilitation of activities like door to door campaigning, helicopter permissions, video van permissions, street corner meetings, application for rallies, vehicle permits, etc.

Sustained efforts of monitoring election expenditure in the State led to the goal of ‘inducement-free’ elections. As of today, a total of over Rs 375 crore seizures were made by different enforcement agencies which is 4.5 times increase from previous elections. Increased seizures were witnessed under all heads- cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals and freebies.

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