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Assembly elections in Karnataka on 10 May; 3-cornered contest likely

The result of the elections, scheduled to be announced on 13 May, is considered crucial as it is expected to give an indication about the mood of the people ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.     

Ashok Tuteja | New Delhi |


The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday announced that the Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held in a single phase on 10 May and the result will be announced on 13 May in what is likely to be a three-cornered contest among the ruling BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

The electoral exercise in the southern state is considered important as it is expected to give an indication about the mood of the people ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year.

Announcing the poll schedule at a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said the notification to elect a new Assembly in the state would be issued on 13 April while the last date of filing nominations is 20 April. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on 21 April while the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures is 24 April.

”The ECI has prepared the scheduled for holding General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka after taking into consideration all relevant aspects like climatic conditions, academic calendar, board examination, major festivals, prevailing law and order situation in the state, availability of central armed police forces, time needed for movement, transportation and timely deployment of forces and an  in-depth assessment of other ground realities,” he said.

The Model Code of Conduct for the elections has come into force in the state with the announcement of the poll schedule.

The CEC said over 58,000 polling stations would be set up across the state to conduct a free and fair poll. “There are 224 Assembly constituencies of which 36 are reserved for the SCs and 15 for the STs. The total electorate in the state is 5,21,73,579 crores of which males are 2.62 crore and females are 2.59 crores. The total number of 80 plus electors is 12.15 lakh. It is an increase of 32 per cent from 2018. It also includes 16,976 proud electors who are 100 plus. The number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) has increased to 5.55 lakh. This is an increase of close to 150 per cent,” he added.

The number of first-time voters in the state has increased by 9.17 lakhs in Karnataka from 2018-19. “All young voters, who are turning 18 years of age by April 1, will be able to vote in the Karnataka Assembly elections,” Kumar said, adding the ECI has laid down the security measures for the identified sensitive booths in the state.

Of the total 224 members in the state Assembly, 119 belong to the BJP while the Congress has 75 members and its ally JD(S) has 28.

The Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP Government is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and popularity to win the support of the people again. The state government has also been stressing on the Kannadigas’ issue and reservation to the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities by scrapping a religion-based reservation for the Muslim community. Prime Minister Modi has already been regularly touring Karnataka, stressing on the necessity of a double-engine government at the Centre and in the state for its speedy progress.

The Congress, on the other hand, is expecting that the anti-incumbency factor against the Bommai Government will work in its favour. Apart from cornering the BJP Government on the issue of corruption, the party hopes the ”Bharat Jodo Yatra” of senior leader Rahul Gandhi and his recent disqualification from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case will help the grand old party in dislodging the BJP from power.

The Janata Dal-Secular (Secular), the third major force led by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, has the potential to upset the applecart of both the BJP and the Congress, and could possibly play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly. The party, so far, has been maintaining an equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress while trying to expand its own base.