BENGALURU: At least 56% voter turnout has been recorded till 3 pm in Karnataka where polling for the high-stakes 225-member state assembly began under a thick security blanket and the watchful eyes of the Election Commission on Saturday morning. However, the voting is being 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. Most of the opinion polls have 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 is witnessing 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.
More than 4.96 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives from a field of little over 2,600 candidates. Men account for over 2.52 crore voters, women around 2.44 crore, while there are 4,552 transgender electors. Election office sources said over 55,600 polling stations have been set up, and there would be some auxiliary booths too. Over 3.5 lakh personnel will be on duty to ensure a free and fair poll.