BENGALURU: Polling for the high-stakes 225-member Karnataka state assembly were held amid thick security and under the watchful eyes of the Election Commission on Saturday. The voting was held in 222 out of the 224 seats. The Election Commission deferred the polls for the Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment. Karnataka assembly elections 2018 exit polls by different channels show the state is readying for a hung assembly. While some polls show Congress as the single largest party, others claim BJP will win the largest number of seats. JD-S will remain at the third spot.
Most of the pre-poll surveys had predicted a tight race between the two main political parties, BJP and the ruling Congress, which left no stone unturned in wooing the voters here. The state of Karnataka has witnessed a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's JD(S) - which is predicted to play a kingmaker's role in the government formation in the state.
Karnataka has over 5.06 crore electorate, including 2.6 crore men and 2.5 crore women. A total of 15.42 lakh voters, aged 18-19, were registered for the first time. Polling was held in 58,008 stations in 30 districts across the state, with 600 of them dubbed as 'pink booths', overseen by women security personnel. Over 1.5 lakh security personnel were deployed.
The vote count will take place on May 15.
In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women. A total of 222 are from the Congress and BJP each, 201 from JD-S, 1,155 Independents and 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties. About 450 contestants are in the battle from Bengaluru.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from Chamundeshwari at Mysuru and Badami in Vijayapura district. BJP's Lok Sabha member from Ballari B.R. Sriramaulu is also contesting from two seats, including Badami and Molakamuru (reserved) seat in Chitradurga district.
JD-S state President and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is in the fray from Ramanagara and Channapatna seats in the old Mysuru region. BJP state unit President Yeddyurappa is contesting from Shikaripura in Shivamogga district in Malnad region.
Siddaramaiah has fielded his son Yatindra from his hometown Varuna in Mysuru district.