Bengaluru: A voter turnout of 20.99 per cent was recorded till 11 am on Wednesday in the polls to elect representatives for the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
The highest turnout in the first four hours of polling, which began at 7 am and will go on till 6 pm, was in the coastal district of Udupi (30.26 per cent) and the lowest in Chamarajanagar district (16.77 per cent), election officials said.
Karnataka is witnessing a three-cornered contest among the ruling BJP, the Congress and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular).
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, former chief minister B S Yediyurappa, IT industry veteran N R Narayana Murthy along with wife Sudha Murty, and Mysuru royal family member ‘Rajamate’ Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, were among the early voters who cast their ballots.
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Siddalinga Swamiji, seer of the Tumakuru-based Siddaganga Mutt; actor Ramesh Arvind, senior Congress leader G Parameshwara, and ministers including R Ashoka, Araga Jnanendra, C N Ashwath Narayan and K Sudhakar exercised their franchise in the initial hours of polling.
Many polling stations in Bengaluru saw brisk polling in the initial hours with senior citizens leading from the front at some of them.
Bommai cast his ballot at Shiggaon in Haveri district, along with son Bharath Bommai and other family members.
Former CMs Siddaramaiah, H D Kumaraswamy, and Jagadish Shettar, state Congress President D K Shivakumar along with their family members exercised their franchise in their respective segments.
‘Sarkaryavah’ (General Secretary) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Dattatreya Hosabale, seers and pontiffs of various maths, prominent literary figures like writer Chandrashekara Kambara, and Veerendra Heggade, the Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala and several film personalities cast their ballot.
Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena and District Electoral Officer and Chief of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Tushar Giri Nath were also among the early voters.
There are reports of people with disabilities coming out to vote. Also, there are instances of brides and grooms casting their vote ahead of their marriage today at Makonahalli in Chikkamagaluru district, in Bengaluru and a couple of other places.