Bengaluru: An estimated 7.38 per cent of voter turnout was recorded till 9 AM in 14 constituencies of Karnataka Tuesday, where the contest is between Congress-JD(S) combine and BJP.
The highest turn out was recorded in Shivamogga with 10.12 per cent and least in Haveri with 5.75 per cent till 9 am, poll officials said.
Queues were seen at polling booths as the voting began, with many including senior citizens arriving to vote in the morning hours to cast their vote to avoid the summer heat.
Former Chief Minister and state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa was among the prominents, who cast his vote early on Tuesday at Shikaripura in Shimogga.
'Achhe din' term needs to be archived and forgotten: NCP's dig at BJP on 8-year high retail inflation
Hardik quit Cong fearing jail in sedition cases, says party leader; claims his resignation scripted by BJP
Yeddyurappa was accompanied by family members including his son BY Raghavendra, who is the BJP candidate from Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat.
“Polling is underway in 14 constituencies today. In Shivamogga my son Raghavendra will win at least with 1.5 lakh votes margin. Out of 14, we will win a minimum of 12 seats and another 10 seats where elections have already taken place (first phase on April 18),” Yeddyurappa told reporters after exercising his franchise.
Exuding confidence about winning 22 out of total 28 seats in the state, he said, “even though Deve Gowda (JDS patriarch), Kumaraswamy (Chief Minister) and other important politicians had camped in Shivamogga for last two days, people have got respect for Raghavendra’s work and 100 per cent he is going to win.”
Raghavendra, who is a sitting MP from Shivamogga had defeated Madhu Bangarappa, joint candidate of ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in the by-polls held in November last year.
In Gulbarga, BJP candidate Umesh Jadhav, who is pitted against Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, also cast his vote.
Jadhav had recently quit as Congress MLA and joined BJP.
The grand old party had also moved disqualification petition against him.
This time, Kharge,a nine-time MLA and two-term Lok Sabha member who has never tasted electoral defeat, is facing a tough battle as several senior leaders of Congress like BaburaoChinchansur, Malka Reddy and Malikayya Guttedar, from theregion, quit the party and joined BJP.
BJP candidates from Dharwad, Belgaum and Chikkodi- Pralhad Joshi, Suresh Angadi, Annasaheb Jolle; Congress candidates from Bagalkot and Dharwad- Veena Kashappanavar and Vinay Kulkarni; and JD(S) candidate from Bijapur Sunitha Devanand Chavan also cast their votes in their respective polling booths.
Polling began at 7 AM in 28,022 polling stations that are mostly in the northern belt of the state, covering the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka and Mumbai-Karnataka regions, a couple of central districts and coastal Uttara Kannada.
As many as 2,43,03,279 voters are eligible to choose from among 237 candidates in the fray during the second phase.
Among the 237 candidates, 227 are men and 10 women.
Belgaum with 57 has the maximum number of candidates, while Raichur with five has the lowest in the second as well as the first phase.
Among prominent contestants in the second phase are Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge (Gulbarga) Union Ministers Ananth Kumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada) and Ramesh Jigajinagi (Bijapur).
Besides, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is pitted against another former chief minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa of JD(S) from Shivamogga while Pradesh Congress Working President Eshwar Khandre is seeking election from Bidar.
Of the 14 constituencies going to polls in the second phase, BJP is contesting in all the seats while Congress and JD(S), who have an alliance, have fielded their candidates in 12 and 2 constituencies respectively as per the seat sharing arrangement.
Congress currently has its hold on only 4 out of 14 seats – Chikkodi, Gulbarga, Bellary, Raichur — while the BJP has its sitting MPs in 10 seats.
The 14 constituencies in southern part of the state covering old Mysuru region and couple of coastal districts had gone to polls on April 18, recording an overall voter turnout of 68.81 per cent.