Bengaluru: Thousands will queue up to cast their votes for the second phase of local body polls in the state Sunday.
As many as 1,05,431 candidates are in the fray for 39,378 seats, where polling will start from 7 a.m to 5 p.m in over 20,728 booths.
About 3,697 candidates were elected unopposed even as the 2,709 panchayats go for polling, poll officials said.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic fears, those tested positive or under primary/secondary contacts can vote in the last hour of polling, according to the state election commission.
Elaborate security and Covid related measures are in place, alongside mandatory masks and social distancing, they said.
Hand sanitisers will be available in polling booths.The number of voters in each booth has been reduced from 1,500 to 1,000. Anganwadi, ASHA workers and Health Department officials have been roped in for poll duty.
These Panchayat polls are not (officially) fought on party lines and no party symbols are used. However, most candidates are backed by political parties. The state's three main outfits - the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal Secular - are all keen to assert their dominance in this grass-roots election.
Polling for 3,019 panchayats in 117 taluks were held in the first phase on December 22 and voter turnout was registered at a whopping 82 per cent.
Bengaluru is known to be not turning out for voting; however, surprisingly the first phase gram panchayat polls registered more than 90 per cent voter turnout— a record of sorts for the city.
Around two lakh people in Bengaluru Urban district will cast their votes in the gram panchayat (GP) elections, to be held in 11 GPs in Bengaluru North and 15 in Yelahanka taluk.
Bengaluru North has about 98,422 voters and there are 538 contenders in the fray for 233 seats. Yelahanka has nearly 1.2 lakh voters and there are 719 contenders for 298 seats.
The cases registered by the SEC indicate that even grass root elections are rampantly using social media sites to woo voters. The SEC has registered more than two dozen cases of candidates violating using party symbols during their campaigns which is a case in point.
Candidates have used their party leaders' photographs while campaigning through their Whatsapp or Facebook pages.
The counting for both phases will take place on December 30.
IANS report with edits