Another chance or exit door for BJP: Karnataka decides Sunday
Five years after providing BJP its first opportunity to rule Karnataka, the state's electorate vote Sunday to decide whether it deserves another chance or give the mandate to other contenders, including the Congress.
Both the central leaders and the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party say they are confident of the party retaining power as, they claim, the organization is "now free of corrupt people", a reference its first chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa who has left it to head the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).
The Congress has been trying to puncture the BJP's confidence asserting that Karnataka people "are fed up" with the ruling party's corruption scandals and infighting and are set to throw it out.
The Janata Dal-Secular leaders say their party is the preferred choice as people are intelligent and have seen the two national parties steeped in corruption scandals and not interested in protecting the state's interests.
Even KJP has been talking of capturing power on its own as, according to Yeddyurappa, "the time has come for Karnataka to elect a regional party" like many other states.
Which of these and other smaller parties and large number of Independents deserve the mandate will be known May 8 when the result of the Sunday's voting will be out. Over 40.36 million voters, including and 21.35 million women, are eligible cast their ballot.
Ahead of balloting, over 250,000 officials armed with voters' lists and electronic voting machines Sunday fanned out across the state to set up 52,034 polling booths.
The polling time from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., the early opening and later close is due to intense summer heat across the state, particularly in the northern and coastal areas.
Even Bangalore, otherwise known for its moderate climate through the year, has been going through rough patch with the mercury hovering between 35 and 37 degree Celsius in the last few days.
The assembly has 224 elected and one nominated member. However balloting will take place for 223 seats as polling in Periyapatna constituency in Mysore district countermanded following the death of BJP candidate.
Over 130,000 police personnel will be on duty Sunday to ensure peaceful polling.
More than 1800 of the 2,948 candidates, including 170 women, in the fray are independents and from unrecognized parties.