Counting of votes in Karnataka begins

May 25th, 2008 - 9:42 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Bangalore, May 25 (IANS) Counting of votes of the Karnataka assembly elections, whose outcome could have a bearing on national politics, began Sunday morning in 48 centres across the state under tight security. The first trends are expected by 10.30 am and all the 224 results may be announced by 3 pm, according to the state election commission.

More than 6,000 officials are tabulating the votes. About 65 percent of around 42 million electorate voted in the three-phase elections May 10, 16 and 22 to pick 224 members from among 2,241 candidates.

There are 108 women contestants, a majority of them independents.

Karnataka is the first state to hold polls with re-drawn constituencies following recommendations of the Delimitation Commission, which has reserved more seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes without altering the strength of the assembly.

Officials will employ a new software, developed by the National Informatics Centre, to make real-time result announcements on the Internet.

The Congress is contesting 222 of the 224 seats of the assembly. It withdrew its candidate from Shikaripura in Shimoga district to make it a straight contest between former Karnataka chief minister S. Bangarappa, who heads the state Samajwadi Party, and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yediyurappa.

The Congress failed to field a candidate in one constituency as two aspirants fought for nomination and the party suffered embarrassment as the nominations of both were rejected.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all seats followed by the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 219 constituencies, the Bahujan Samaj Party in 217, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) 10 and the Communist Party of India nine.

Besides Yediyurappa, other chief ministerial aspirants are state Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, former deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah, also of the Congress, and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD-S.

In 2004, the Congress had won only 65 seats and BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 79 seats. The JD-S had bagged 58.

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