The full-throated campaigning for the high-octane Assembly elections in Karnataka concluded on Thursday evening, with both the Congress and BJP leaving no stone unturned to woo voters in their favour in both rural and urban areas.
According to the Election Commission data, Karnataka – which goes to polls on May 12 – consists of 70 urban and 154 municipal Assembly constituencies. Bengaluru alone has nearly half of the urban constituencies (28), while the rest are spread across seven city corporations -- 43 city municipal councils (CMCs), 65 town municipal councils (TMCs) and 92 town panchayats (TPs).
The result of Gujarat Assembly elections, held last year, showed that the BJP held strong ground in the urban areas, while the Congress garnered majority of votes from the rural segment. However, a similar pattern in voting is unlikely in Karnataka keeping in mind the results of the last two elections.
The BJP, which came to power on its own for the first time in Karnataka in 2008 but lost to the Congress after five years in the May 2013 assembly election, hopes to make a foray into the south again ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The party hopes to make up its possible losses in the north where it had peaked four years ago.
According to ANI, the BJP won 17 out of 28 seats in Bengaluru. However, in 2013, the Congress 13 seats, one more than the BJP. In 2008, the campaigning was largely focused on the rural population, while in 2013, the focus was on the urban voter.
The news agency says that while the rural population is looking forward to increased availability of electricity, clean drinking water, education and job opportunities, the urban voter is more concerned about commuting through the harrowing, traffic congested streets of India's IT hub.
India TV’s Final Opinion Poll says that the Congress will win 96 seats, BJP on 85 and the JD(S) will win over 38 seats – the expected kingmaker on the D-Day. With no party touching the magic mark in the opinion poll, Karnataka is likely to throw a hung assembly.
Here is what different opinion polls have their say on the Karnataka Assembly election results:
# VMR Opinion Poll on Karnataka
# Karvi Opinion Poll on Karnataka
# CSDS Opinion Poll on Karnataka
# C-Four Opinion Poll on Karnataka
# Suvarna Opinion Poll on Karnataka
According to ANI, opinion polls suggest that the saffron party may secure a higher share of votes in urban Karnataka, as many feel that issues related to Bengaluru have not been tackled during the Congress reign, be it infrastructural congestion, growing traffic, pollution of lakes, inefficient management of garbage, delays in the Metro rail construction, all of which have contributed to a disruptive existence.
In all, 2,654 candidates are in fray for the ensuing election on Saturday to elect the state's 15th Legislative Assembly.
Of the total candidates in fray, including 219 women, 222 are from the ruling Congress, 223 from BJP, 201 from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), 1,155 Independents and 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties, according to the poll panel.
The state capital and tech hub Bengaluru, which alone has 28 Assembly segments of the state's total 224 constituencies, has a total of 449 candidates in the fray. Of them, 37 are women and 412 men. Voting will be held across 27 of the tech hub's Assembly segments, after the election in Jayanagar was countermanded.
A single phase polling will be held for the 223 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 15 for Scheduled Tribes (STs). The votes will be counted on May 15.
(With inputs from ANI)