K'taka panchayat polls
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The counting of votes for the election of the Karnataka gram panchayat (voting was held in two stages on 22 and 27 December) has begun. While the election of the gram panchayat is held on a party-less basis, all three main contenders, the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Janata Dal (Secular) or the JDS, are competing to have elected a majority of their supporters.

The result of the election of the gram panchayat is expected to reflect the current mood of the state’s rural citizens. Since the vote was held on paper ballots, it is expected that the counting will only be completed late on Wednesday night, and trends are expected by late afternoon.

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After thorough mixing of ballot papers, actual vote counting began. Candidates are vying for a total of 82,616 seats, of which 8,074 have been elected unopposed.

BJP-backed candidates are leading in 3,226 seats, Congress-backed candidates in 1,987 seats, JDS-backed candidates in 849 seats, and others in 543 seats, according to provisional reports coming in.

The BJP is doing well in northern Karnataka, as political experts had previously predicted, while it is a direct fight between the Congress and JDS in the southern part of the state and the Old Mysuru region. Experts said the key to who will eventually rule there is likely to be held by Independents.

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Candidates have obtained an equal number of votes in several places across the state, and the winner is decided by lottery. For example, in Vijaypura district’s Hebbal gram panchayat, two candidates received 311 votes each. By drawing lots, the election authorities declared Shrishaila Hipperagi the winner.

Despite the appeals of the authorities, candidate supporters collect in enormous numbers near counting centres without masksa dn failing to maintain social distancing.

On Thursday at 12pm, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa will address the media at his home office regarding the outcome of the election.

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