Bengaluru: Voter turnout gained momentum in the second half of Saturday, with 61.25 percent of voting completed as of 5 p.m, up from 56 percent at 3 p.m.
The Assembly polls, which began at 7 a.m. at 58,546 polling stations, each equipped with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs), will conclude at 6 p.m.
Earlier in the day, a faulty VVPAT machine was replaced in Hubli, which had stalled the voting.
The election in two constituencies, Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, both in Bengaluru has been postponed.
In Jayanagar, the polling has been deferred due to the death of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, B N Vijay Kumar, on May 4.
In Rajarajeshwari Nagar, it has been postponed after a bundle of fake voter identity cards was found from a flat in Bengaluru’s Jalahalli locality by the Election Commission (EC) officials on May 8.
The election in Karnataka is considered crucial for the Congress Party, as it would be looking to prevent the BJP juggernaut from expanding its footprints in the south.
Since the 2014 general election, the Congress has been defeated by the BJP in over a dozen states, drastically shrinking its political footprint.
The BJP is making an all-out bid to oust the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka and is looking to come back to power in the state with B.S. Yeddyurappa, its chief ministerial candidate. Interestingly, no incumbent government has been re-elected in Karnataka since 1985.
The Janata Dal (Secular) is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics and is expected to give a tough fight to both the BJP and the Congress.
A total of 2,654 candidates are in the fray and 4.96-crore electorate, including 2.44 crore women, will cast their votes. Over 15 lakh people are first-time voters in the 18-19 age group.
Tight security is in place to ensure smooth and peaceful single-phase polling in 222 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 26 in Bengaluru.
The majority mark for any party to form the government is 112. The counting of votes and announcement of results will take place on May 15.