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Karnataka records 70.41 pc voter turnout amidst sweltering heat

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Bengaluru: As the mercury soared to a blistering 45 degrees Celsius in certain pockets of Karnataka, the state bore witness to a remarkable display of civic duty during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections across 14 constituencies.

Despite the scorching heat, Karnataka boasted a commendable 70.41% voter turnout by 10 am on Wednesday, surpassing the national average of 67.40%, as reported by election officials.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a heatwave alert encompassing various regions of Karnataka, including the 14 constituencies that went to polls on Tuesday. Undeterred by the challenging weather conditions, voters exhibited resilience by turning out in substantial numbers.

Regions such as Kalaburagi and Raichur witnessed temperatures soaring to 45 degrees Celsius, while others like Koppal, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Gadag, Ballari, Bidar, and Yadgir hovered around 43 degrees Celsius.

Officials from both the election commission and IMD commended the electorate for their steadfastness in the face of adversity. Surpassing the turnout of Phase-2, which stood at 69.56%, the overall voting percentage in Phase-3 demonstrated an upward trajectory, noted Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena, acknowledging the improved participation despite the challenging circumstances.

Meena highlighted a decline in overall turnout during Phase 2, attributing it to lackluster participation in three urban constituencies of Bengaluru. However, Phase 3, which lacked metropolitan areas among the constituencies, witnessed notably higher turnout figures.

In a concerning incident reflecting the toll of the heatwave, election officials Lakshmi Devi and Ravichandra were hospitalized due to low blood pressure in Ballari. Despite such setbacks and instances of rule breaches, such as capturing and sharing voting footage on social media, officials remained vigilant, ensuring appropriate actions would be taken.

Prominent political figures, including All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief ministers BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai, and Union minister Pralhad Joshi, exercised their franchise, underscoring the importance of civic engagement. Notably, Padmashree awardee and poll icon Manjamma Jogatti also cast her vote, symbolizing the diverse participation in the electoral process.

The conclusion of Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday marked the culmination of a significant democratic exercise, with a total of 93 constituencies participating, including 14 from the state.

Throughout the day, voting percentages exhibited a steady climb, starting from 9.45% in the early hours and reaching 66.05% by 5 pm. Noteworthy was the highest turnout of 76.99% recorded in Chikkodi constituency, juxtaposed with Kalaburagi, the home constituency of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, which registered the lowest turnout at 61.73%. Even Uttara Kannada, despite its comparatively lower number of voters, saw a substantial 73.52% turnout.

In the face of formidable weather challenges, Karnataka’s voters showcased unwavering commitment to democracy, ensuring their voices reverberated through the corridors of power. Their resilience serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of civic responsibility amidst adversity, underscoring the vibrancy of India’s electoral fabric.

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