After a tumultuous campaign, Karnataka voters are about to engage in a massive battle of the ballots on Wednesday as the state elects its representatives to the 224-member Legislative Assembly.
The BJP, the Congress, and the JD(S), three major political parties in contention, as well as their candidates, have made a strong pitch in an effort to improve their chances at the hustings given the high stakes of this election.
There will be voting from 7 am to 6 pm. 5,31,33,054 electors are eligible to vote in the state’s 58,545 polling stations, where 2,615 candidates are running for office.
Among the electors, 2,67,28,053 are male, 2,64,00,074 female and 4,927 “others”, while among the candidates 2,430 are male, 184 female and one from third gender. As many as 11,71,558 are young voters, while 5,71,281 are persons with disabilities (PWDs) and 12,15,920 are aged above 80.
The Congress is attempting to seize control in order to give the party the much-needed breathing room and momentum it needs to position itself as the primary contender in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, while the ruling BJP, riding the Modi juggernaut, wants to break the 38-year jinx and retain its southern citadel.
In the event of a hung verdict, it will be important to keep an eye on whether the Janata Dal (Secular), led by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, will act as a “kingmaker” by holding the key for government formation.
“A government with full majority” appeared to be the go-to phrase for leaders of political parties during the campaign as they emphasised getting a clear mandate to form a powerful and stable government in the state, in contrast to what occurred following the 2018 elections.
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