Bitterly-fought Phase-1 K’taka panchayat poll held

Polling was held for Panchayats in 12 districts of Karnataka in the first phase of the elections.

Bangalore: Polling was on Sunday held for Zilla and Taluk Panchayats in 12 districts of Karnataka in the first phase of the elections, bitterly fought by ruling BJP, the Congress and JD(S) with stakes high for the three parties.

The exercise was largely peaceful though there were some stray reports of skirmishes between activists of rival parties, allegations of voter enticement, electronic voting machine malfunctioning and bogus voting.

"There were no major incidents. By and large, the election was peaceful", an official of State Election Commission said.

According to official sources, initial estimates put the polling percentage at around 50 per cent. Exact numbers will be known later.
Up for grabs were 374 Zilla Panchayat seats and 1335 Taluk Panchat seats in the districts of Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagara, Chitradurga, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Shimoga, Tumkur, Bidar, Bellary, Raichur and Yadgir.

Fight in most of the constituencies is triangular with BJP, Congress and JDS putting up an aggressive campaign.

The local body elections are seen as an "acid test" for Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa who came under intense scrutiny recently by the BJP high-command after the JDS and Congress unleashed allegations of corruption and nepotism against him and demanded his ouster.

"The climate (for the BJP) is good, beyond expectations," Yeddyurappa said today, adding, he believed poll results would give a "reply" to questions (allegations of corruption against him) raised by the Opposition.
The polls are no less important for the Congress and JDS.