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Tents, fans, ambulances – Karnataka is gearing up for voting on May 7 in the sweltering heat

With just two days to go for the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, the Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements to increase voter turnout amid rising temperatures in the 14 constituencies going to the polls on May 7 go to the polls.

The first phase of general elections in 14 of Karnataka’s 28 Lok Sabha constituencies was held on April 26, and the second, for the rest of the 14 segments, is on May 7.

From arranging shamianas and tents, additional fans and drinking water facilities to keeping ambulances on standby and using adjoining rooms of the polling booth as waiting areas, the Election Commission is making efforts to ensure that the voting percentage is not affected by the “hard ” summer”.

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There are 28,269 polling stations in these 14 constituencies – Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Davangere and Shimoga – which will go to polls on May 7. In this first phase, Karnataka recorded a voter turnout of 69.56%.

Speaking to PTI, Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka, Manoj Kumar Meena said, “The constituencies where the elections will take place on May 7 are in the North Karnataka region and the temperature there is slightly high. That is why we have taken all necessary measures to ensure that people are not deterred from coming out of their homes to vote.”

He further said: “It is a harsh summer, so we are taking special measures to mitigate this temperature, (and the possibility of) strokes and dehydration… So we are making special provision for shade, drinking water and fans where necessary. at the polling stations.”

The polling body has also roped in ASHA workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) workers to deal with any medical emergencies that may arise at the polling stations.

“We also have health workers at the local level, including ASHA workers and ANMs from primary health centres, so they will have basic medical kits to ensure that first aid is given to voters and polling agents in case of any medical emergency,” he said.

Ambulances are also on standby at a cluster of polling stations so that patients needing more than first aid can be rushed to hospital, he added. The priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of poll workers and voters, especially seniors and persons with disabilities.

At the polling stations, there are plenty of tents and umbrellas for shade, and chairs for officials and voters to sit, to ensure they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

“Everything is being done to ensure that people have an enjoyable experience and that the harsh summer does not deter them from coming out to vote. We will do our best to ensure that people will not encounter any problem,” the CEO said.

There are a total of 2,59,52,958 voters in these 14 constituencies, of which 1,29,83,406 are men, 1,29,67,607 women and 1,945 others.