The Election Commission on Tuesday announced that Karnataka will go to polls in single phase on May 12 and the counting of votes will take place on May 15. The term of the current 224-member legislative Assembly ends on May 28.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said the model code of conduct has come into force with the announcement of this schedule.
The notification for the polls will be issued on April 17 and the last date for filing of nomination will be April 24, Rawat said. April 27 will be the last date of withdrawal of candidates, he added.
The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) announced that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATS) will be provided at all polling stations and photograph of all the candidates will also be put up on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). "All polling stations will have EVMs and VVPATs deployed; special arrangements will be made for women voters", the CEC said.
When asked about the polling dates being leaked even before the official announcement on election dates were made, Rawat said the poll panel will investigate the matter and take stringent legal and administrative action.
The elections are being seen politically crucial for the ruling Congress as well as the BJP as Karnataka is the only major state where the Congress is in power at present and retaining it is crucial for the party morale ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP is making a concerted bid to unseat the Congress.
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