Except a minor incident at Harekala in Mangaluru taluk, the first phase of gram panchayat elections in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi went off peacefully on Tuesday.
According to the provisional statistics, if Dakshina Kannada recorded 75.05 % voting, Udupi registered 74.10 %.
Taluk-wise, provisionally, Mangaluru recorded 72.23 %, Moodbidri 77.77 % and Bantwal registered 72.82 % voting in Dakshina Kannada. In Udupi, Udupi taluk recorded 74.80 %, Hebri taluk 79.41 %, Brahmavar 73.79 %, and Baindoor taluk registered 71.28 % polling.
The police used lathis to disperse a group of political activists engaged in heated arguments at a polling booth in Harekala at about 1 p.m.
According to the police, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) activists questioned a Congress activist who was repeatedly going to a polling booth at Ramakrishna Aided Secondary School in Harekala. This led to a heated exchange of words between the SDPI and Congress activists. The incident did not have any impact on polling and the process went on smoothly, the police said and added that no case has been registered in this connection.
Polling was held in 172 gram panchayats in the twin districts. These were 106 panchayats in Mangaluru, Moodbidri and Bantwal taluks in Dakshina Kannada and 66 panchayats in Udupi, Brahmavar, Hebri and Baindoor taluks in Udupi district.
The second and the final phase of elections will take place on December 27. Counting will be held on December 30.
COVID-19 protocols were followed in majority of the polling stations.
Many voters said that they knew the candidates in person and that voting for them might help to get projects completed in their villages.
After visiting some polling stations in Udupi, Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha told presspersons that people showed interest in exercising their franchise.
In remote places such as Nadpalu in Hebri taluk of Udupi district, people were seen turning up for voting in the morning itself. At a polling booth in Nadpalu, out of the total 662 voters, 337 had already exercised their franchise by 11.45 a.m. Voting was brisk in the evening again. As there are travel restrictions due to the pandemic this time, NRI voters were fewer in numbers.