Counting of votes in Karnataka begins
Counting of votes of the Karnataka Assembly polls, whose outcome could have a bearing on national politics, begins in 48 centres across the state under tight security.india Updated: May 25, 2008 08:26 IST
The stage is set for counting of votes today in the 224 assembly constituencies that went to polls in three phases in Karnataka.
The ballots would be counted at 48 centres set up across the state under tight security cover, Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar said.
Due to the establishment of a well-connected network between the counting centres and the election office, there will be real time announcement of results, he said.
The counting would commence at 8 am and was expected to be completed by 3 pm.
Political parties and their candidates have been waiting for the outcome with bated breath.
Tension seemed to be more palpable in the camps of Congress and BJP which were bidding for power in the state and aspiring to form government on their own.
However, calculations in JDS centred around another fractured verdict, which alone could turn the party once again a key player in the government formation.
An element of suspense has swept all major players in the wake of pre-poll surveys and exit polls failing to project a clear picture. While some surveys gave an edge to BJP and Congress, there was no dearth of predictions of another hung house in the state which witnessed a three-way fractured mandate in 2004.
The voting percentange this time showed a marginal decline with 64.72 per cent of the 4.07 crore electorate casting their votes as against 64.9 per cent in 2004.
There were in all 2,241 candidates in this election held in three phases on May 10, 16 and 22, which had seen deployment of 46,000 EVMs.
In the 2004 assembly election, 1,715 were in the race.
This time, Congress contested 222 seats, BJP 224 and JDS 219.
The prominent candidates whose poll prospects would be known tomorrow included BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, who has fought a bitter electoral battle against Samajwadi Party's S Bangarappa, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, his brother H D Revanna, KPCC President M Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief minister N Dharam Singh, former deputy chief minsiters-- Siddaramaiah and M P Prakash.
Other notables in the contest are: two sons of Bangarappa, Kumar and Madhu, locked in fierce battle of ballot in Soraba, former ministers R V Deshpande, D K Shivakumar, A Krishnappa, Ramalinga Reddy, Dr G Parameshwara (all Cong), K S Eswarappa, Jagadish Shettar, Katta Subramanya Naidu, R Ashok (all BJP), N Cheluvaraya Swamy of JDS and JDS state unit party president Merajuddin Patel.
Among the MPs trying their luck to enter the assembly are: film star-turned politician, M H Ambareesh, A Venkatesh Naik, Narsingrao Suryavamshi (all Cong), Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, Ramesh Jigajinagi, G Karunakara Reddy (all BJP) and S Bangarappa of Samajwadi Party.
In the 2004 election, Congress could win only 65 seats and BJP with 28.49 per cent voteshare emerged as the single largest party, winning 79 seats.
JDS, which won 58 seats gaining 20.59 per cent votes, held the key to government formation, and installed two coalition governments and toppled both of them.
JDS formed the first-ever coalition with Congress, and after enjoying power for 20 months, dumped it and aligned with BJP for a second term, which it brought down after 20 months.
People of the state and political pundits have been keenly watching the outcome of the election to know whether the electorate would end the coalition era and vote a single party governance or give one more fractured verdict.