New Delhi: A 70 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the high-stakes Karnataka Assembly polls today, the Election Commission (EC) said.
The last Assembly election in the southern state in 2013 had witnessed 71.4 per cent polling, the poll panel said.
“I want to congratulate the voters of Karnataka. Till 6 pm, the voter turnout in the state was 70 per cent. Barring a few polling stations, voting has been completed at almost all,” Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here.
“By the time we get the final figure, we will have a better turnout than the last election,” he added.
The poll percentage is likely to go up as voters were seen standing in the queue at certain polling stations even after 6 pm.
The rural voters outnumbered their urban counterparts in exercising their franchise.
Voting was held in 222 of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka, in a three-cornered contest involving the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s JD(S).
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray — more than 2400 men and and over 200 women.
Of the 5,06,90,538 eligible voters, 2,56,75,579 are men, 2,50,09,904 women and 5,055 transgenders.
Officials said 58,008 polling stations were set up across the state, of which 12,002 were designated as “critical”.
Over 3,50,000 polling personnel were deployed.
As many as 82,157 security personnel, including home guards, civil defence volunteers and forest guards were pressed into service, Sinha said.
The southern state had witnessed an all-time high seizure, including a huge amount of cash, in the run-up to the polls.
“The total value of the seizure was Rs 186 crore, of which cash amounted to Rs 94.66 crore, besides liquor Rs 24.78 crore,” Sinha said.
“Other items, including sarees and other consumable products, worth Rs 66 crore, were also confiscated. The seizures are worth eight times more than what it was during the last Karnataka Assembly election. In the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh polls, the seizures were worth Rs 150 crore,” he added.
The counting of votes will take place on May 15.