Hubballi: The good voter turnout in Mumbai-Karnataka is being seen as a positive sign by both the Congress and BJP. While the BJP claims the high voting percentage is a verdict against the ruling party with first-timers and youth, who emerged to vote, responding to the “Modi wave,” the Congress attributes it to a high turnout by the Ahinda community it is banking on to win.
“There is a large swing among the Ahinda people towards the Congress after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah chose to contest from the region,” claimed its local leaders, noting that the Congress had worked hard to ensure that all voters from the Kuruba, minority and scheduled caste communities exercised their franchise in the constituency these polls.
“The Congress will gain more from the high voter turnout here as it indicates that Ahinda voters have become more united than in previous elections after the Chief Minister opted to contest from the region,” said Congress leader, Dr Devaraj Patil, while admitting that the high voter turnout could help the BJP too to a some degree.
But worryingly for the Chief Minister, a large number of Veerashaiva-Lingayats turned out to vote in Badami where he is contesting from, and it’s believed they have all backed the BJP.
Things don’t look bright either for senior BJP leader, Jagadish Shettar, who is contesting from Hubballi-Dharwad central constituency, as the low voter turnout could impact his fate and help his rival, Dr Mahesh Nalwad of the Congress, who belongs to the Lingayat community that is dominant in the constituency. Another political bigwig, Vinay Kulkarni, who was in the forefront of the movement for independent religion status for Lingayats, is believed to be in a close fight with BJP’s, Amruth Desai in Dharwad where the voter turnout was high on Saturday.
Though very slow in the morning, the voting picked up pace in the afternoon in Dharwad, Haveri, Bagalkot and Gadag districts. But the heavy rain disrupted the process in Hubballi-Dharwad and surrounding villages in the evening. Though largely peaceful, the day saw malfunctioning EVMs and missing voter names in some booths....