New Delhi, Apr 2: The assembly elections in Karnataka, which is currently under President's rule, will be held in three phases on May 10, 16 and 22, the Election Commission announced today.
Addressing a news conference here, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said 89 assembly seats will go to the polls in the first phase, 66 in the second phase and 69 in the third and final phase. Counting of votes will take place on May 25. Mr Gopalaswami said the model code of conduct came into effect in the state from today.
Karnataka was brought under President's rule on November 28 last year and the assembly dissolved. President Pratibha Patil had signed the proclamation bringing the state under Central rule after the Union Cabinet accepted Governor Rameshwar Thakur's recommendation in this regard.
The decision came a day after the first-ever BJP government in the south collapsed following coalition partner JD(S)' decision to vote against the government's confidence motion in the Assembly.
The Centre's decision to impose President's rule, the second time in two months, had ended high political drama witnessed in the state on the issue of transfer of power between coalition partners -- the BJP and the JD(S).
The state was under President's rule for 34 days from October nine to November 12 after the fall of the JDS-BJP coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy and the state Assembly was kept under suspended animation.
BJP's B S Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister of the first BJP-led government in the South in early November.
However, a fresh crisis was triggered by the BJP's refusal to accept the JD(S)' demands on a new power-sharing agreement.
After the JD(S) refused to vote for the BJP, Mr Yeddyurappa announced his decision to quit and submitted his resignation to the Governor, who then recommended imposition of President's rule in the state.
In the 224-member House, the BJP had 79 legislators, followed by the Congress 64, JD(S) 58 and JD(U) five.
BJP, JD-S, Cong welcome May polls
All the major political parties including Congress, BJP and Janata Dal(S) today welcomed the announcement of the assembly elections by the Election Commission to be held in May at the end of six-month President's.
KPCC President Mallikarjun Kharge in his reaction said that the party welcomed the decision of the EC and was fully geared up to face the polls and confident of winning the majority on its own. "We hope the people of Karnataka will again not give a fractured mandate. We have seen the pitfalls of coalition governments. I appeal to the voters of the state to bring a single party rule and Congress party can provide a stable government," he said. He urged the EC to ensure tht elections are held in a free and fair manner and without any bias. "It should also ensure that money, muscle and liquor power do not have any say in the poll outcome," he said.
Former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh also welcomed the decision of the EC.
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) national President H D Devegowda said that his party is very well prepared to face it and confident that the people of the state would vote for it. He said that the party will encash the 'star value' of former Chief Minister H D Kumarswamy and win the polls.