Karnataka assembly poll process formally begins

Bangalore, April 10 (IANS) The May 5 Karnataka assembly poll process formally started Wednesday with the opening of nominations for the 224 seats of the 225-member house that includes one nominated member.

As nominations close April 17, filing of papers by candidates of major political parties would actually begin Friday, a day after they usher in Ugadi, the Kannada New Year festival to be celebrated Thursday.

Also deciding the day and time of nomination filing by a significant number of candidates would be the alignment of stars as they believe in astrology and go by their favourite gurus.

The three major parties — the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) — are yet to announce candidates for all the 224 seats. As also the new Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) headed by former BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The BJP has released names of candidates for around 170 seats, the Congress for 177 and the JD-S for 125 seats.

Another party that is contesting the election is BSR Congress formed by former BJP minister and jailed mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy loyalist B. Sriramulu.

The five parties have said they would contest all the 224 seats.

The main fight is expected between the BJP and Congress in a majority of the constituencies. In south Karnataka, the fight is expected to be mainly between the BJP and JD-S or the Congress and JD-S.

With Yeddyurappa declaring that his main goal is to defeat the BJP, interest is more on the damage his KJP will cause to his former party than on the number of seats his new outfit will win.

The last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 20. Vote count is on May 8.

Over 40 million people are eligible to vote.

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