Bangalore, May 25 : The counting of votes for Karnataka Assembly Poll started this morning at 8:00 and will continue until 3:00 p.m.
The results will decide the fate of 2242 candidates for 224 seats today.
A total of 48 centres have been allocated for the counting of ballot in the State under tight security, Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar said.
Tension seemed to be more palpable in the camps of the Congress and the BJP, which were bidding for power in the State and aspiring to form a government on their own.
The voting percentage this time showed a marginal decline with 64.72 per cent of the 4.07 crore electorate casting their votes as against 64.9 per cent in 2004.
The prominent candidates included BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, who has fought an electoral battle against Samajwadi Party's S Bangarappa, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, his brother H D Revanna, KPCC President M Mallikarjun Kharge, former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh, former Deputy Chief Minsiters-- Siddaramaiah and M P Prakash.
Other notables contestants are: two sons of Bangarappa, Kumar and Madhu, locked in fierce battle of ballot in Soraba, former ministers R V Deshpande, D K Shivakumar, A Krishnappa, Ramalinga Reddy, Dr G Parameshwara (all Cong), K S Eswarappa, Jagadish Shettar, Katta Subramanya Naidu, R Ashok (all BJP), N Cheluvaraya Swamy of JDS and JDS state unit party president Merajuddin Patel.
Among the MPs trying their luck to enter the Assembly are: film star-turned politician, M H Ambareesh, A Venkatesh Naik, Narsingrao Suryavamshi (all Cong), Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, Ramesh Jigajinagi, G Karunakara Reddy (all BJP) and S Bangarappa of Samajwadi Party.
In the 2004 election, the Congress could win only 65 seats and the BJP with 28.49 per cent vote share emerged as the single largest party, winning 79 seats.
The JDS, which won 58 seats gaining 20.59 per cent votes, held the key to the government formation, and installed two coalition governments and toppled both of them.