As Karnataka goes to the polls on Sunday, election pundits, who had earlier predicted deep cuts into the ruling BJP’s kitty, point to the prospects of a hung Assembly and the Congress emerging as the single-largest party.
For the first time, poll timing has been extended to a good 11 hours: from 7 am to 6 pm, triggering hopes of a larger voter turnout. Over 4.35 crore voters in all the 224 constituencies will decide the fate of 2,940 candidates, 170 of them women. The votes will be counted on May 8.
Elections to the Piriyapatna Assembly segment in Mysore district will be held on May 28.
The psephologists’ change of mind came after the BJP and the JD(S) picked up rapidly in the last 10 days of the election campaign.
Sensing a chance of a return, top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi actively campaigned in the state.
The BJP also brought all its national leaders, including L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj, and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to campaign in its only bastion in south India.
The battle becomes more piquant with the KJP of B S Yeddyurappa and the BSR Congress of Sriramulu --making a noise notwithstanding their limited presence.