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    Karnataka Assembly election: Voter turnout at 37.25% recorded till 1PM

    Karnataka, where voting began at 7 am on Wednesday in Assembly elections recorded 37.25% of voter turnout till 1 PM, according to the Election Commission.

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    The Karnataka election will decide the fate of 2,615 candidates fielded across 224 assembly constituencies. The southern state is witnessing a three-cornered contest between the ruling BJP, the Congress, and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular). The electoral fate of top guns–Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Congress veterans Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy among others will be sealed during the day-long exercise.

    While the ruling BJP, riding on the Modi juggernaut, wants to break the 38-year jinx — the State has never voted the incumbent party to power since 1985, the Congress is seeking to wrest power to give the party the much-needed elbow room ahead of 2024 polls. Also what needs to be seen is, whether the JD (S) will emerge as a “kingmaker” or a “king” by holding the key for government formation, in the event of a hung verdict.

    In 2018, the voter turnout in Karnataka was 72.36%.

    CM Bommai (Shiggaon), Leader of Opposition and former CM Siddaramaiah (Varuna), JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy (Channapatna), Shivakumar (Kanakapura) are among the top candidates in the fray. Besides Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy, Jagadish Shettar (Hubli-Dharwad Central) is the other former Chief Minister who is contesting this election. Shettar had recently joined the Congress, quitting BJP.

    In the outgoing Assembly, BJP has 116 MLAs, followed by the Congress at 69, JD(S)–29, BSP one, two Independents, Speaker one, and vacant six (following deaths and resignation to join other parties ahead of polls).

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