Karnataka Assembly elections is all set to be held on May 12, with the counting of votes to be held on May 15, as announced by the Election Commission. The announcement indicates that the model code of conduct will also come into force in the state immediately. The EC also said that April 24 will be the last date to file nominations and April 27 will be the last date for withdrawal of candidature. Two hundred and twenty four seats are up for grabs in the upcoming elections. Term of the current assembly will end on May 28.
Sources said, “It will be a fight to the finish in Karnataka” in both the Congress and the BJP. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BJP national chief Amit Shah have already kicked off campaigning in Karnataka's battleground constituencies. For Congress, winning comes as vital as it faces its power diminishing in other states. The previous assembly polls held on May 5 in 2013 in single phase, with 2,948 candidates in the fray. The state witnessed 71.45 per cent polling back then. For Congress, incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah remains the candidate for the top post. Meanwhile, the BJP has pitched former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa as its candidate.
For the BJP, a win will mark its entry to the South, which has held out the longest against a BJP onslaught. Meanwhile, the ruling Congress got a bit of a boost when seven former JD (S) MLAs joined the party. The rebel MLAs resigned from the Karnataka legislative assembly a day after they cross-voted in favour of the Congress candidates in the March 23 Rajya Sabha biennial election in the state.
At a meeting, the names of all 122 sitting Congress MLAs and the recently joined Independent and JD (S) rebel legislators were recommended by the Congress State Election Committee.