With the announcement of the dates for the Karnataka Assembly elections by the Election Commission, the political battle for power in the state is set to intensify. The state elections are crucial for the Congress following election defeats in the North East. The tenure of the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly expires on 28 May and the new House has to be constituted before that.Composition of the Assembly
The Karnataka Legislative Assembly comprises two Houses, a Lower House, and an Upper House. The Lower House is the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and the Upper House is called the Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad). The Assembly is bicameral with 224 seats.
The Karnataka Assembly elections in 2013 had witnessed the Congress storming to power with 122 seats after seven years, landing a huge blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which suffered a loss at the hands of a fractious split and corruption charges.
The BJP tied with the JD(S) in second place, with both parties securing 40 seats each.
The internal conflict in the BJP had played a big role in the Congress getting a majority in 2013. Senior leader in the Karnataka BJP, Yeddyurappa had split from the party to form a new outfit, Karnataka Janata Dal (KJP), dividing the BJP’s vote bank.
Congress' Siddaramaiah had gained a majority with votes from Dalits, backward classes and other minorities as the Lingayat and Vokkaliga vote banks were divided between BJP and KJP.
The partywise share of seats after the results of the 2013 elections were announced saw the Indian National Congress (INC) with 122 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 40 seats, the Badavara Shramikara Raitara Congress Party (BSRCP) with 4 seats, the Karnataka Jantha Paksha (KJP) with 6 seats, the Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) with 40 seats, the Karnataka Makkala Paksha (KMP) with 1 seat, the Samajwadi Party (SP) with 1 seat, the Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha (SKP) with 1 seat and Independent (IND) with 9 seats.Number of Voters
Around 60 lakh people have enrolled as new voters across Karnataka ahead of the 15th Assembly elections, an official had said.
"The number of new voters across the state has increased by 60 lakh, taking the total number of electorate to 4.96 crore as per the tentative electoral rolls as against 4.36 crore voters in 2013 Assembly elections," state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar had been quoted as saying.
According to the tentative electoral rolls, the number of male voters was 2.51 crore and female voters 2.44 crore.
Around 4,552 people, who identify with the 'third gender', had registered to vote in the upcoming elections.
"The number of young voters (aged 18-19), who will be voting for the first time, has doubled to 15.42 lakh as per the tentative rolls as against 7.18 lakh in 2013 elections," Mr Kumar had added, according to media.
Bengaluru South Assembly constituency was said to have the highest number of voters at 5.5 lakh, while Sringeri constituency, around 320 kilometres west of Bengaluru in Chikkamagaluru district the lowest number of voters at 1.6 lakh, as per the draft rolls.
There were about 2.18 lakh voters on an average in each constituency, Kumar had said.Number of Constituencies
Karnataka has 225 state Assembly constituencies, out of which members for 224 seats are elected through Assembly elections and the remaining one is nominated by the Karnataka governor from the Anglo-Indian community. The Assembly lasts for five years, except if dissolved earlier. Presently, the state's House is the 14th Assembly, with KB Koliwad functioning as the Speaker of the House.