As the dates of Karnataka Assembly election 2018 gets closer, all parties are putting all their resources in what is to become a precursor to the 2019 General elections. It is still very early to predict which party will win the Karnataka assembly elections.

However, both the parties in contention, Congress and the BJP are claiming victories. On Sunday PM Modi predicted that the Congress would lose the fight in Karnataka. Meanwhile, the Congress has accused the BJP of polarizing the electorate. It added that Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah would continue to serve the state for the next five years.

This time around, the electorate is confused having seen the performance of all the three adversaries at some stage. All the indicators are pointing to a hung assembly, or any party will have a wafer-thin majority. It will be the undecided voters who will decide the fate of all the parties. It will be a keen contest.

The stakes are high for all the parties

If the ruling coalition wins, it could boost its chances in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Defeat for the Congress could mean the loss of a significant state where it is in power. The prospects of both the leading parties will depend a lot on the performance of JD(S), the AAP and BSP.

One factor which will inevitably affect this election is the chief minister Siddaramaiah’s shrewd decision to give a separate religion status to Lingayats.

By accepting a critical demand which was made by the BJP in the past, the astute and populist leader had preempted a major BJP poll issue.

Chances of BJP

For the BJP there is no other option but to rely on its 75 years old patriarch of the party, Yeddyurappa to woo the state’s voters.

Being a Lingayat himself, Yeddyurappa is expected to hold votes of the community in the face of granting separate religious status to Lingayats by Congress.

Janata Dal (S) will be the ultimate kingmaker if there is a hung parliament. Led by HD Kumaraswamy, the party is keeping its options open though the Congress has already dubbed it the ‘B’ team of BJP.

Any party which can garner 113 seats will come to power. The state is known for replacing the ruling party every five years.

The Karnataka election 2018 is unique in many ways. The state is going to have the highest number of first time voters who will exercise their franchise, and this could help the BJP in a big way especially with the tech-savvy Narendra Modi in the helm of affairs. The number of voters in the 18 to 19 group has nearly doubled since the last elections in 2013.

EVM tampering issues

With numerous allegation of EVM tampering, the Election Commission has decided to organize mock polls.

The contestants will be called to be a part of an exercise and it will be held between 6 to 7 AM. and will take place at 9093 booths of Bengaluru.

The Election Commission will also distribute voter guide to every household. It will also set up one all women managed polling booth in every constituency. Voting will take place on May 12th and results will be out by May 15.

For the first time, Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is to be used in the Karnataka State Elections 2018.

76,110 VVPAT machines, 87,819 Ballot Units, and 73,185 Control Units will be used in the process of elections by the Election commission. There will be 56,696 polling stations which will be manned by an equal number of Booth Level Officer, one for each polling station. In addition to this 3,56,552 polling personnel will be on duty for the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections.

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