Election day in Karnataka was marred by incidents of violence, destruction of EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), protests, and the discarding of alleged freebies offered by political parties in their attempts to win over voters. The assembly elections in Karnataka kicked off at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and voting continued till 6 p.m.
In Masabinal, located in the Basavana Bagewadi taluk of Vijayapura district, a group of angry villagers vandalized electronic voting machines and VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines. They also caused damage to the vehicles belonging to polling officers. These actions were reportedly triggered by rumors, leading to tensions in the area. Polling officials with the help of administration eventually brought the situation under control.
In the Padmanabhanagar constituency of Bengaluru, a group of young individuals armed with sticks attacked their political adversaries at a polling booth located in Papaiah Garden. This incident resulted in a rampage during which a few women, who were waiting in line to vote, were injured, according to the reports. Similarly, in Sanjeevarayanakote of Ballari district, there was a physical clash between workers from Congress and BJP parties.
In a video, villagers in one of the districts in Karnataka were seen rejecting and throwing away gifts such as sarees and even chickens allegedly offered by a local BJP leader to win over voters. Earlier in the day, Priyank Kharge, the incumbent MLA and party candidate from Chittapur, and the son of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, accused his presiding officer of manipulation.
“Polling stopped in Booth #178 Chamnur village as the Presiding Officer is prompting/influencing people to vote for the BJP,” a tweet read.
Another constituency, Varuna, saw slogan shouting, fisticuffs, and a tense atmosphere between Congress and BJP workers. V Somanna is contesting against Congress CM aspirant Siddaramaiah from Varuna. Congress workers had insisted that Somanna not be allowed to enter a polling booth for inspection - when Somanna wanted to check whether polling was happening smoothly - as he is not a voter in the constituency. BJP workers objected to Congress protests. Eventually, the issue was resolved after polling officials diffused the situation.