Siddalinga Swami of the influential Lingayat Siddaganga mutt on Wednesday cast his vote in the Karnataka Assembly polls at a polling booth in Tumakuru.
The Lingayat and Vokkaliga voters will play a major factor in the elections. Lingayats comprise 17 per cent of the population and Vokkaligas 11 per cent.
The polling for the Karnataka Assembly elections began at 7 am amid tight security on Wednesday and will continue till 6 pm.
All three major political parties in the state — BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS)– have put in efforts to woo voters, making promises and levelling accusations at each other to secure a majority in the state’s 224-seat Assembly.
The voting is being held for 224 assembly constituencies in Karnataka with 2,615 candidates in the fray. The fate of the candidates will be known on May 13, the day of the counting of votes. Polling is scheduled across 58,545 polling stations including auxiliary polling stations.
According to the Election Commission of India, the majority mark to form the government is 113 seats.
A total of 42,48,028 new voters have been registered to vote for the assembly elections.
As many as 5.3 crore general voters are going to cast their vote in 58,545 polling stations in 37,777 locations. Out of which 11,71,558 are young voters and 12,15,920 are 80+ senior citizen voters. There are also 5,71,281 PwD voters. Around 4,00,000 polling personnel are engaged in poll processes.
84,119 State Police Officers and 58,500 CAPF police in 650 CoYs are on Law and Order and security duty today across the state. All Police officers are on rounds to ensure Law and Order efficiently and handle MCC violations. 185 Interstate Border Check-posts are on high alert by the Police and other personnel. 100 Excise interstate border check-posts are also on high alert. The Commercial Tax officers are deployed in 185 Check Posts (SSTs) and 75 Excise Check-posts.
The high-voltage campaign for the assembly elections in Karnataka ended on Monday with all party leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding 19 public meetings and six roadshows while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi camped in the state for 12 days.
Some of the key constituencies in the polls are Varuna, Kanakapura, Shiggaon, Hubli-Darwad, Channapatna, Shikaripura, Chittapur, Ramanagara, and Chikmagalur.
Both BJP and Congress are fielding some of their top guns in the major constituencies. The BJP has also taken a chance by contesting 50 new faces in its 224 candidates list. This move by BJP to deny tickets to several senior leaders ultimately led to them quitting the party and joining Congress or JD(S).
The counting of votes will take place on May 13.
This report is filed by ANI news service.