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Karnataka polls: All-women teams at 450 booths

The poll panel said it was taking awareness steps to increase voting percentage among women and urban voters


All-women teams will manage 450 of the total 56,696 polling booths in the Karnataka Assembly polls on May 12, an election official said on March 27.

"A total of 450 all-women polling stations will be set up in the state for the election, where not just the police staff, but also the polling officers will be women," Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told the media here.

Single-phase polling for the 15th state assembly, which will expire on May 28, will be held on May 12 and votes will be counted on May 15.

The state has registered a total of 4.96 crore electors, with 2.52 crore men and 2.44 crore women, Kumar said.

"The number of new voters across the state has increased by 60 lakh, taking the total electorate to 4.96 crore as against 4.36 crore in 2013 Assembly elections," he said.

A total of 4,500 people who identified themselves as "transgenders" will also be voting, while 15.42 lakh voters, aged 18-19, will be casting their votes for the first time this election.

There were about 2.18 lakh voters on an average in each of the 224 assembly constituencies. "A total of 3,56,552 polling personnel will be employed."

Placing emphasis on having an inclusive election, the officer said additional facilities of ramps, wheelchairs will be provided to allow the disabled to vote.

"Some of the officials with disabilities will be employed as the polling staff for the first time," he said.

Former cricket captain Rahul Dravid, who hails from the southern state, will be the "state election icon", who will urge all people in the state to vote, Kumar said, adding that an election anthem will also be made for awareness on voting by renowned Kannada film director and lyricist Yograj Bhat.

The poll panel said it was taking awareness steps to increase voting percentage among women and urban voters.

"A special drive is also being done to register excluded groups like primitive tribes, nomadic tribes for the poll. Special polling stations which bear ethnic look will be set up," he added.

In the 225-member state assembly, including one nominated, there are currently 122 members from the ruling Congress, 43 from the Bharatiya Janata Party, 30 from the Janata Dal-Secular, eight Independents, 14 vacant seats, with few others from regional parties.

Of the 224 constituencies, 36 are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes.