The single phase polling for Karnataka Assembly Election 2018 in 222 constituencies has begun. Today’s votes will decide the fate of 2,636 candidates. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and JD (S) are the main contesting parties.
The state has seen fever pitch campaigning by top leaders, each attempting to woo voters through their unique campaigning styles. Karnataka election has been billed as the quarterfinal before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with huge stakes for both BJP and Congress.
The ruling Congress and the BJP are the main contenders for power, while former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s JD(S) is likely to play the kingmaker, according to most surveys and opinion polls. The results for the Karnataka elections will be known on May 15. Although Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats, the election in Rajrajeshwari Nagar seat had been put off to May 28 following fake ID row. The election in south Bengaluru’s Jayanagar constituency was countermanded following the death of BJP’s candidate B N Vijayakumar on May 4.
The 223 constituencies include 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 15 for Scheduled Tribes (STs). No party in Karnataka has won a second successive term in office since 1985 when the Janata Dal under Ramakrishna Hegde had retained power. The Congress is aiming at retaining the only large state it rules after Punjab, while the BJP is striving to form its government in Karnataka, which party president Amit Shah said will be its “gateway to south”, for a second time.
Four current and former chief ministers are also in the fray, including Siddramaiah, who is contesting from Badami and Chamundeshwari, Yeddyurappa from Shikaripura, Kumaraswamy (Chennapatna and Ramanagara) and BJP’s Jagdish Shettar from Hubbali-Dharwad.
There are more than 49.8 million voters in Karnataka who are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives. Men account for over 25.2 million voters, women around 24.4 million, while there are 4,552 transgender electors. Election office sources said over 55,600 polling stations have been set up, and there would be some auxiliary booths too. Over 350,000 personnel will be on duty to ensure a free and fair poll.
Some polling stations in tribal areas will have ethnic look, sources said, adding government employees with disabilities will do duty at select polling stations for the first time.
It is for the first time that people would be able knows about the queue status at polling stations with large number of voters through a mobile app, sources said.
Source: Business Standard