Karnataka Election: 53 Mln Voters to Decide BJP, Congress' Fate Today
13:14 10.05.2023 (Updated: 14:17 10.05.2023)
© AP Photo / Aijaz RahiAn Indian election official marks the finger of a woman with indelible ink before allowing her to cast her vote at a polling station in Bangalore, India, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
© AP Photo / Aijaz Rahi
Ahead of election day, India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) party candidates made a strong pitch in an endeavor to boost their prospects.
Over 53 million eligible voters are set to decide the fate of two arch-rival national parties -- the BJP and Congress, on Wednesday in 224 poll constituencies throughout India's Karnataka state, where voting for the legislative assembly election began at 7:00 a.m.
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is another key regional party in the fray, and is expected to play an important role after the election results are announced.
About 2,615 candidates are competing for 224 assembly constituencies in the state; 2,430 are male, 184 are female, and one claims to be neither.
Polling is taking place across 58,545 polling stations, including auxiliary polling stations, and a total of 4.2 million new voters have been registered to vote in the elections.
The state recorded a voter turnout of 8.26% by 9:00 a.m.
A total of 53.1 million voters are eligible to cast their votes; 26.7 million are male, 26.40 mln are female, and 4,927 claim to be neither.
The Udupi district recorded the highest turnout of 13.28%, while Chamarajnagar registered the lowest figure of 5.75%.
The voting will last until 6 p.m.
Why Are Karnataka Polls Crucial?
The polling result will be announced on May 13 (Saturday). The majority mark in the Karnataka Assembly is 113.
Karnataka State chief Basavaraj Somappa Bommai exuded confidence in the morning as he was among the early voters on Wednesday. Currently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ruling in the state.
Karnataka is an important battle for the BJP, as it is the only southern state where BJP is in power. Since 1985, Karnataka has been voting against the incumbent party in the Assembly polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and ex-Congress president Rahul Gandhi urged citizens, especially young voters, to exercise their right to vote.
"Urging the people of Karnataka, particularly young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers and enrich the festival of democracy," PM Modi tweeted.
Meanwhile, all the parties appealed to boost voting in a bid to gravitate voters to their local candidates through social media.
Appeals to young voters to cast their votes has also increased, as in the past it has been seen (by the Election Commission of India too) that they turn up in less number to vote.
Author and educationist Sudha Murthy, and her husband Infosys founder Narayana Murthy cast their votes for the Karnataka Assembly elections in Bengaluru early in the morning on 10 May.
"If you want to bring changes in democracy, or if you want to elect the right leader, you should vote. Don't ask who you are voting for, why you are voting. Everyone has their own opinion and everyone should vote," said 72-year-old Sudha after voting.
#KarnatakaPollsWithTNIE— Ashwini M Sripad/ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ ಎಂ ಶ್ರೀಪಾದ್🇮🇳 (@AshwiniMS_TNIE) May 10, 2023
Sudha Murthy and Narayana Murthy from Infosys foundation were one among early voters who casted their vote at a polling station in Jayanagar, Bengaluru@NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/abHKmw7hwr
We appreciate the message given by Sudha Murthy to young voters this morning appealing them to vote.— Bala Tripura Sundari.R (@Bala_Tripura_R) May 10, 2023
She says after casting her vote "Please look at us. We are oldies but we wake up at 6 o'clock, to come here and vote. Learn from us. Voting is a sacred part of democracy...".… pic.twitter.com/K4ZerGHGiL
High Optimism in both BJP and Congress
State opposition leader and Congress President D.K. Shivakumar asserted that the grand old party will form the government in the state with an absolute majority.
"I am 200% confident Congress party will have 141 seats. We will win an absolute majority..," said Shivakumar.
BJP leader and Karnataka State Chief Basavaraj Bommai expressed confidence in emerging triumphant in the polls.
"I will win by a record margin. The people of Karnataka will vote for positive development and the BJP will get a comfortable majority," Bommai stated.
2018 Election Result
In the last state election in 2018, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party, with 104 seats, but failed to secure more than 50%;
The BJP's B. S. Yediyurappa took an oath as the chief minister but resigned before a trust vote on May 23 (in 2018) as they fail to prove a majority.
After this, a coalition government led by JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy and supported by Congress ruled the state for 14 months.
In July 2019, the government collapsed after several lawmakers switched to the BJP. Yediyurappa then took the oath as the state chief but resigned on July 26, 2021.
The BJP's Basavaraj Bommai has been the state chief since July 28, 2021.