Impressive voting in Karnataka; anti-incumbency or love for Modi?

Who will get benefit of Karnataka’s impressive voter turnout? Congress or BJP?

BENGALURU/HAVERI/NEW DELHI | Updated: 10 May, 2023 1:52 pm IST
election, karnataka, polling
A family flashes their voting mark after exercising their franchise in Shiggaon Assembly constituency where CM Basavaraj Bommai is seeking re-election. (TNI photo by Sumit Kumar)

BENGALURU/HAVERI/NEW DELHI: Karnataka witnessed a remarkable voter turnout during the Assembly election on Wednesday, with leaders of the ruling BJP attributing the higher voting rate to the public’s trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

The state recorded close to 30 percent voting by 11 am, which further increased by approximately 8 percent by 1 pm. Voting in the 224 Assembly segments commenced at 7 am and is scheduled to conclude at 6 pm. In the 2018 state polls, the state reported a 72.36 percent polling rate.

According to the Election Commission, Udupi district emerged as the frontrunner in terms of voter participation, with an impressive voting percentage of 30.26 percent. In contrast, Chamarajnagar district recorded the lowest turnout at 16.77 percent until 11 am.

An intriguing aspect of this election is the surge in seizures, as the total value of seized items has surpassed ₹375 crores, according to figures from the ECI. Since the implementation of the model code of conduct, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth ₹288 crores in the state. The commission has identified 81 assembly constituencies as expenditure-sensitive, highlighting the significance of financial monitoring.

Prominent figures like chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, former CM and BJP turncoat Jagadish Shettar, Congress’ CM hopeful Siddaramaiah, and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar exercised their franchise in their respective constituencies.

Speaking to the media after casting his vote in the Shiggaon Assembly segment in Haveri, CM Bommai expressed confidence, anticipating a resounding victory for himself and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “I am winning this election with a record margin, and so is the BJP. We’re going to win a record number of seats. This is a fight between the BJP’s development agenda and Congress’ sinister campaign,” he stated.

Women voter line up for their turn to cast their vote in Shiggaon, Karnataka. (TNI photo by Sumit Kumar)

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, and MP Tejasvi Surya also made their presence felt at the polling booths in Bengaluru. Sitharaman praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wide appeal and ability to connect with the people, highlighting his strong bond with the citizens.

She criticized the Congress’ proposal to ban Bajrang Dal as the “height of foolishness” and stated, “Karnataka is the birthplace of Bajrang Bali, and Congress has, in their manifesto, proposed to ban Bajrang Dal. This is the height of foolishness.”

In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, MP Tejasvi Surya claimed that the BJP would retain power with a thumping majority. “You will see a BJP government on May 13,” he declared, emphasizing unprecedented development and the BJP’s attentiveness to Karnataka’s cultural sensitivities.

The New Indian spoke to a number of voters in Bengaluru and Haveri, revealing that a majority favored the BJP over the Congress despite anti-incumbency sentiments. A man who traveled from Maharashtra’s Pune to Shiggaon in Haveri expressed his preference for PM Modi’s leadership, which focuses on “development, and not caste politics.” He stated, “We should compare how things were 10-15 years back and how they are now.”

A man poses for The New Indian in Bengaluru (photo by The New Indian)

“We’ve voted for a strong Centre. We’ve voted for Modi Ji,” they told The New Indian.

Similarly, a serving Army officer – who cast his vote for physically for the first time at a polling booth – did not mince words to declare his political allegiance.

Colonel Srinivas, who came to Vijaya Bharti School in Jainagar constituency in South Bengaluru with his wife and first-time voter daughter, said: “I voted for national integrity, security, safety & no to pseudo-secularism. I have voted for the person who works 20 hours daily, fulfilled all promises, and has no corruption allegation against him.”

“He said he will remove Article 370 and he did,” he said, concluding with “Har Har Modi” slogan.

As the election continues to unfold, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on the outcome, eager to witness the democratic will of the people of Karnataka on May 12.

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