Karnataka will go to polls in a single phase on Thursday with 4.62 crore people eligible to exercise their franchise to elect representatives for the 28 Lok Sabha seats. A total of 434 candidates are in the fray.
The Election Commission (EC) and the State government said that elaborate arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the polls.
As many as 60,000 security personnel, including Central forces, will provide security cover for 54,294 polling booths spread across the State.
While the EC has declared that a paid holiday has to be given to all employees in government and private sector, several IT firms in Bangalore till Wednesday evening were yet to declare a holiday.
Companies were found asking their employees to attend office, while some firms relaxed norms and asked employees to work from home. Few organisations gave their employees two hours relaxation. But for majority of the government, bank and insurance firm employees, it is going to be a paid holiday.
“Essential services like buses and trucks will continue to function. Hospitals and other services will remain open. We cannot expect the City to come to a standstill,” said Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha.
The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail will be tested in Bangalore South constituency.
For the first time, voters in Karnataka can avail the None of the Above (NOTA) option on the Electronic Voting Machine. The EC is using technology to ensure free and fair polls using direct video recording, webcasting and CCTV cameras.
The BJP, which secured 19 seats in the 2009 polls, is looking for a repeat performance. The Congress is aiming to cross the 20 seat mark. The JD(S), which has fielded candidates in 24 constituencies, has vouched to give a tough fight.
The Aam Aadmi Party is also seeking to gain a toehold in the state and has fielded candidates in all constituencies.