The polls in the BJP-ruled state might be a phased affair. Though the term of the Karnataka assembly expires on June 3, the poll panel felt that the exercise would be winded up before the onset of intense summer.
Karnataka assembly poll will be the first major one after the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress vice-president and Rajnath Singh's taking over as the BJP president. The party will have the edge over the ruling BJP after putting up a good show at the urban local body elections held earlier this month. While the BJP's tally got reduced to 907, the Congress bagged 1,906 seats.
The BJP, which has seen three chief ministers assuming office in five years since it came to power in 2008, will face a massive challenge to retain power. The exit of BS Yeddyurappa, a powerful politician from the party following a prolonged tussle with the top leadership, has weakened the BJP's base significantly. The third power, the JD(S), will also be looking to make its presence felt.
The Congress will hope to repeat the urban poll performance in the assembly elections to boost the party workers ahead of the next round of poll battled in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, scheduled later this year.