All eyes on Karnataka: Counting tomorrow

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Bangalore, May 24 (UNI) The political fortunes of major contenders for power in Karnataka will be decided tomorrow when counting of votes will be taken up in 46 centres across the state with the fate of 2242 candidates, including 108 women, fighting it out for 224 seats in the Assembly at stake.

With various pollsters predicting another split verdict in the state Assembly as in 2004 , the Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting all the 224 constituencies with its Chief Minister aspirant candidate B S Yeddyurappa locked in a mother of all battle with former Chief Minister S Bangarappa (Samajwadi Party) in his home turf of Shikaripur.

The counting of votes would commence at 0800 hrs amidst tight security and the first trends are expected around 1030 hrs, according to state Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar.

He said all the results would be out by 1500 hrs.

Other prominent candidates in the fray include former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh (Jewargi), Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Mallikarjuna Kharge (Chitapur), Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council H K Patil (Gadag), former Union Ministers V Srinivas Prasad (Nanjangud) and M H Ambareesh, MP (Srirangapatna) and former Deputy Chief Ministers M P Prakash (Harapanahalli) and Siddaramaiah (Varuna) of the Congress.

Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy (Ramanagara), State JD(S) President Mirajuddin Patel (Humnabad), former Minister H D Revanna (Holenarsipur) all from the JD(S), former Ministers Jagdish Shettar (Hubli) and Lok Sabha members Ramesh Jigajinagi (Chikkodi), Basavaraj Patil Yatnal (Huvina Hippargi) and Karunakara Reddy (Bellary town) of the BJP.

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), the other chief contenders for power, have fielded up 222 and 219 candidates, respectively. The Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) has 217 candidates, while the CPI(M) and CPI are in the fray in ten and nine constituencies, respectively.

Karnataka, which is the first state to go for polls with changed constituencies after the delimitation exercise, would also add another first to its credit when the worldwide web makes a debut in the counting process in the country for instantaneous transmission of results from counting centres to the Election Commission of India.

An estimated 64.72 per cent of the 40.32 million voters had exercised their franchise in the three-phase polling held on May 10, May 16 and May 22.

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