A woman has an indelible mark painted on her finger before casting her vote at a polling station in Varanasi, India. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/ Bloomberg)

Karnataka Assembly Polls On May 12, Counting On May 15

The Karnataka assembly elections will be held on May 12 and the votes will be counted on May 15, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat announced today.

It will be a single-phase election for the 224-member assembly, like the last time.

The notification for the polls will be issued on April 17 and the last date for filing nominations will be April 24, Rawat said at a press conference. April 27 will be the last date for withdrawal of candidates, he added.

All electronic voting machines will be linked to voter verifiable paper audit trail machines, he said.

The polls are being seen as politically crucial for Karnataka’s ruling Congress party as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the only big state where the Congress is in power after losing a string of assembly elections to the saffron party over the last few years.

The BJP is making a concerted bid to unseat the Congress. The Janata Dal (Secular), led by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, is the third player in the fray.

Poll Date Leak?

Commenting on the polling date leaking even before the official announcement, Rawat said that the poll panel will investigate the matter and take stringent legal and administrative action.

BJP's Information Technology Cell Chief Amit Malviya today tweeted the date of the Karnataka assembly polls before the Election Commission announced it, prompting the panel to describe the leak as a "very serious issue" that merited a probe and "stringent action".

Malviya, however, tweeted that he had only quoted a news channel.

His tweet came when Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat was addressing a press conference to announce the schedule for Karnataka polls but had not announced the date.

The BJP IT cell head said the election would be held on May 12 and counting would take place on May 18. While he was correct on the polling day, the votes will be counted on May 15.