Karnataka Assembly polls: State records 72.67 turn-out; Bengaluru region lowest

For the record, Karnataka recorded a voter turnout of 72.36 per cent in the 2018 Assembly polls

Karnataka assembly polls election 2023
Polling officials in ethnic attire at a theme-based polling station in Karnataka's Kalghatgi constituency | Pic: Twitter/Election Commission of India #SVEEP

A voter turnout of 72.67 per cent was recorded in the Karnataka Assembly elections on Wednesday, where the ruling BJP, a combative Congress and the JD(S), which is hoping to be a kingmaker in the event of a hung assembly, are locked in a cliffhanger contest.

CV Raman Nagar in Bengaluru recorded 47.43 turnout, the lowest in the state. Bommanahalli (49.5) and BTM Layout (49.15) in Bengaluru, too, recorded low turn-outs.

The state is mainly witnessing a three-cornered contest between the ruling BJP, the Congress and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular). A total of 5.31 crore electors are eligible to cast their vote in 58,545 polling stations across the state, where 2,615 candidates are in the fray.

Prominent among those who voted include former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and former Chief Ministers B S Yediyurappa and D V Sadananda Gowda (both BJP) and Siddaramaiah and Jagadish Shettar (both Congress) and IT industry veteran N R Narayana Murthy and wife Sudha Murty.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is seeking re-election from Shiggaon in Haveri district for a fourth consecutive term, said he would win with a record margin.

“So is the BJP,” he added, “which is going to win with a record number of seats.” Bommai said the party would get a “comfortable majority”.

First-time voters and the elderly stole the show as they were seen participating in the voting process enthusiastically in many segments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Wednesday urged the people of Karnataka to vote in large numbers and enrich the “festival of democracy”.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, too, appealed to the people of Karnataka to vote in large numbers to build a progressive and a “40-per-cent-commission-free” state.

Meanwhile, violence was reported in some areas.

Villagers of Masabinal in Vijayapura district stopped a poll duty vehicle carrying electronic voting machines (EVMs), manhandled an officer and damaged some control and ballot units on Wednesday, following which 23 persons were arrested, the Election Commission said.

The villagers stopped a sector officer’s vehicle, which was carrying reserved EVMs, and damaged two control and ballot units each and three VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines, the EC said in a statement.

“A sector officer was manhandled, 23 people arrested,” the EC said, adding that top district officials rushed to the village, which comes under Basavana Bagewadi Assembly segment. Police sources said the villagers “action” came after “rumours” that officials were “changing” the EVMs and VVPATs.

While the BJP is eyeing a second term in the state, the Congress has worked hard to tilt the balance in its favour. All projections by pre-poll surveys give Congress the upper hand in the crucial polls. Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar has ruled out the chance of a post-poll alliance with JD(S).

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, on the other hand, tweeted: “People of Karnataka have decided that they shall choose a progressive, transparent & welfare-oriented government. Today, it is time vote in large numbers. We welcome our first-time voters to participate in this democratic process for a better future.”


BJP leader Tejasvi Surya tweeted a picture of his with his parents after casting their votes. Actor Prakash Raj was also seen casting his vote. He tweeted later: “Good morning Karnataka.. i have Voted against communal politics.. against 40% corrupt sarkar .. Do VOTE with your conscience.. do VOTE for inclusive Karnataka.”

Popular actor Rishab Shetty was seen casting his vote at a polling booth in Udupi, while Kannada actor Daali Dhananjaya and his family cast their votes at Kalenahalli village in Arsikere. Kannada actor Ramesh Aravind cast his vote in Bengaluru.

Former India cricketer Javagal Srinath was seen casting his vote at a polling station in Mysuru. Later in the day, actor Kiccha Sudeep cast his vote in Bengaluru and so did Kannada actor Shiva Rajkumar and his wife and Congress leader Geetha Shivarajkumar.


Key seats

Some of the key constituencies in the polls are Varuna, Kanakapura, Shiggaon, Hubli-Darwad, Channapatna, Shikaripura, Chittapur, Ramanagara, and Chikmagalur.

Outgoing Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of the BJP is contesting from Shiggaon, a seat he has won three consecutive times. Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra is contesting from Shikaripur.

Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from Varuna, which is his stronghold and he has been winning it since 2008. “The Congress will get 130-plus seats. It may go up to 150 seats also,” Siddaramaiah told media persons after casting his vote.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar is contesting from Kanakapura, his fortress. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge is contesting from Chittapur.

Of the JD(S), former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is contesting from Channapatna. He was seen voting at a polling booth in Ketaganahalli in Bidadi, Ramanagara district, along with his wife Anitha and son Nikhil, who is contesting from the Ramanagara seat.

Bommai, while casting his vote, said, “I have voted and done my duty towards democracy. It’s a privilege to vote in my constituency. I will win by a record margin. People of Karnataka will vote for positive development and BJP will get a comfortable majority.”

Also read: Karnataka’s ‘missing women’: Where did the women candidates go this time?

On the other hand, Shivakumar has asserted that the Congress will form the government with an absolute majority. “I am 200% confident Congress will get 141 seats. We will win an absolute majority,” he has claimed.

BJP Karnataka president Nalin Kumar Kateel also cast his vote in Mangaluru.

(With agency inputs)