BJP aims to break 38-year jinx, Congress eyes comeback: Stage set for high-stakes Karnataka assembly elections | Karnataka Election News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The stage is set for the battle of ballots in Karnataka as people of the state get ready to vote tomorrow to elect a new 224-member state assembly.
Stakes are high for the three main contenders – the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S). While the ruling BJP aims to break a 38-year jinx in the southern state – which has never voted an incumbent party to power since 1985, the Congress will hope to return to power riding on allegations of corruption against the ruling party.

In the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP with 104 seats had emerged as the single largest party. However, it was the Congress with 80 seats and the JD(S) with 37 that formed an alliance government under Deve Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy.
However, Kumaraswamy’s government collapsed in 14 months when 17 MLAs of the coalition including independents quit and joined the BJP. The BJP then formed its government again. Subsequently, the saffron party went on to consolidate its position in the assembly by winning 12 out of the 15 seats.

In the outgoing assembly, the ruling BJP has 116 MLAs, followed by the Congress 69, JD(S) 29, BSP one, Independent two, Speaker one and vacant six (following deaths and resignation to join other parties ahead of polls).
Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several chief ministers and Union ministers, the BJP led a largely ‘centralised’ campaign. The focus was on PM Modi‘s appeal, the ‘double-engine’ government, national issues and programmes or achievements of the union government coupled with those from the state, including those on reservation.

The Congress focus was on local issues and centred around the allegations of corruption against the BJP government. While initially the state leaders led the campaign, central leaders such as AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra pitched in subsequently.
The JD(S) campaign was anchored mainly by its leader HD Kumaraswamy. Party patriarch and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda also pitched in later.

A total of 5,31,33,054 electors are eligible to cast their votes in 58,545 polling stations across the state, where 2,615 candidates are in the fray.
The voting will take place from 7am to 6pm.
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. Around 4 lakh polling personnel are engaged in the poll process.
As many as 84,119 state police officers and 58,500 CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces ) police in 650 CoYs (companies) are on law & order and security duty on poll day across the state.
‘Critical Polling Stations’ are covered by one or more of the measures like Micro Observers, Webcasting and CCTVs to keep a watch on the polling process as force multipliers.
Karnataka had recorded a voter turnout of 72.36 per cent in the 2018 assembly polls.

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