Picking up momentum, 37 percent voting was recorded in Karnataka up to 1 p.m. today in the 222 assembly constituencies. 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.
Kumaraswamy casts vote, says JD(S) will win
The chief ministerial candidate of the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) Party H.D. Kumaraswamy and his wife Anitha cast their votes here on Saturday. Kumaraswamy said he was confident that his party would win by a comfortable margin. Speaking to ANI, he said, “People have decided and are mentally prepared to bless the JD(S) in the election. We will surprise everyone on May 15.” When asked about various poll surveys predicting wins for the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a fractured mandate, Kumaraswamy rejected them by saying, “There will be a total U-turn. I am confident that I will become the Karnataka Chief Minister.”
“This election is not crucial for me, it’s crucial for the people of the state. The people of Karnataka have given Siddaramaiah a chance, Yeddyurappa a chance. I am the only one left now. I am the best candidate.” Asked about whether the JD(S) party would fall short of a majority, Kumaraswamy asserted, “That won’t arise at all. The JD(S) party will reach the magic numbers (112).
Before casting his vote, Kumaraswamy and his wife met Nirmalanandanatha Mahaswami of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar locality on Saturday. Like Siddaramaiah, the former Karnataka chief minister is contesting from two constituencies – Ramanagaram and Channapatna. In Ramanagaram, which is a predominant JD(S) seat, Kumaraswamy won in both the 2008 and 2013 elections. The JD-S 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 party.