Karnataka will hold election to 5,844 rural local bodies (gram panchayats) in two phases on May 29 and June 1, said the government ending months-long speculation on civic polls. Counting of votes for both phases will be taken up on June 5.
“As new rural local bodies have to be constituted following the expiry of their previous five-year tenure, polling will be held on May 29 and June 1 in 15 districts,” state election commission chief P.N. Srinivasachari told IANS.
Ahead of notification for the first phase, the model code of conduct will come into force from May 10 and prevail till June 7 in all villages, taluks (sub-districts) and zilla (districts) including urban local bodies.
“Though the government has made voting in the local body poll compulsory by amending the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, the offenders will not be penalised,” Srinivasachari said.
As the rural local body election is held on a non-party basis, 28 million voters will be eligible to elect 94,458 members. Half the seats are reserved for women.
“Polling, however, will not be held in 229 local bodies as their tenure is up to August,” Srinivasachari added.
On a pilot basis, the poll panel will use electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the first time in the rural local bodies across Bidar district, about 690 km from Bangalore.