Bangalore: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily on Sunday expressed confidence that the Congress Party would emerge as a winner with maximum seats in Karnataka.
“We are going to get clear and major vote,” Moily told media after casting his vote
About 15 to 20 percent electorate has cast their vote in the first three hours of polling in Karnataka on Sunday.
Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers M Mallikarjuna Kharge and Moily, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara and Karnataka Janata Party supremo B S Yeddyurappa were among those who voted in the initial hours.
Polling commenced at 7 a.m. would continue till 6 p.m. The timing for the casting of votes has been extended by an hour in 223 Assembly segments of the total 224.
Elections in Periyapatna has been postponed till May 28 following the death of BJP candidate.
The ruling BJP, the Congress and the regional Janata Dal-Secular, which is led by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, and the KJP led by Yeddyurappa, are the key players in the elections.
The fate of nearly 3,000 candidates is expected to be decided on Sunday. Prominent among them are Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Congress leader Siddaramiah, Yeddyurappa, KPCC president G. Parameshwara, Deputy Chief Ministers K.S. Eswarappa and R. Ashoka.
Electoral authorities have set up about 52,000 booths, out of which about 10,000 have been identified as hypersensitive and over 14,000 as sensitive. As many as 65,000 electronic voting machines, which include about 10 per cent kept as reserve, are being used in the elections for which more than 2.5 lakh polling officers are on duty.
In the 2008 elections, BJP secured 110 seats, three short of majority and formed the government with the help of five independents who were made ministers. Congress bagged 80 seats and JD-S 28. The overall voter turnout then was 64.91 per cent.
The Election Commission and a number of NGOs have joined hands for vigorous campaigns to boost the voter turnout, particularly in Bangalore, the state capital.