3,019 gram panchayats will be voting in the first phase of Karnataka 2020 local body elections

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In the first phase of the Karnataka local body elections, polling has commenced for 3,019 gram panchayats on Tuesday. Over 50 percent villages in the state of Karnataka will be voting in the 23,706 booths during the Civid-19 pandemic. The voting started at 7 am and will go on till 5 pm in the evening.

Despite the Yediyurappa led BJP state government insisted on prolonging the elections citing the Covid-19 pandemic, the Karnataka High Court issued the order to the state election commission for conducting the polls.

With the elections happening amid the pandemic, the Covid protocols of wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing were made compulsory. The polling booths would also provide hand sanitisers for the people coming to vote. The number of people per booth is deduced from 1,500 to 1,000 and the Covid-19 positive voters would be allowed to exercise their right to vote exclusively during the last hour of the polling.

The electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be utilized in the Bidar district and the method of ballot papers will be used in the remaining districts of the state.

Karnataka has overall 6,004 gram panchayats, but as of now only 5,762 gram panchayats will be having the polls. As many as 162 gram panchayats still have a part of the tenure remaining, so they will not be entering the polls along with six more gram panchayats who have pending cases in the court. Total of 33 gram panchayats which are upgraded to town panchayats and 41 which are not completely converted and in-process will also not have the elections.

The clear statistics states that 29.7 million people are eligible to vote and elect total of 92,121 members who will represent the gram panchayats in the state and will be voting in 45,128 polling booths prepared in the state equipped with 2.70 lakh polling officials.

The elections will have three parties in the picture which comprises of the state ruling Bharatiya Janta Party, Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S). Presently, the most number of seats are backed by Congress in the civic bodies of Karnataka. In the 2019 polls, Congress had won 509 from the 1,229 wards which were based in 56 urban local bodies (ULBs), and only 366 and 174 were won by BJP and JD(S) respectively and around 160 seats were taken by the independent candidates. The second phase of the elections will be held on December 27 and the counting of the votes will commence on December 30.

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