The major political parties in Karnataka, including the ruling BJP, Congress and JD(S), are keeping their fingers crossed ahead of the elections to 25 seats of the 75-strong Legislative Council, also known as the Upper House of the state Assembly, scheduled on December 10.
The curtains were down on public campaigning on Tuesday, though the candidates and local leaders are allowed to carry out door-to-door campaigning till Thursday.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, former Chief Ministers B.S. Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, and BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel had launched high-voltage campaign for the elections.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar and Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, have campaigned for the Congress.
For the JD(S) candidates, campaigning was done by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and ex-Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, among others.
The BJP and the Congress have fielded candidates in 20 constituencies, the JD(S) is contesting six seats, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is trying its luck in three constituencies.
There is a direct fight in 13 constituencies between the Congress and the BJP, while the stage is set for a triangle contest in eight constituencies. Also, strong Independent candidates are in fray in Belagavi and Dharwad.
The results will be announced on December 14. The elections are seen seen as a precursor to the Assembly elections in Karnataka scheduled in 2023, and the parties are looking to gather some momentum ahead of the big ticket polling.
Sources said that the candidates are spending big in every constituency to register victory. The members of the village panchayats and local body representatives are the voters for the elections. Unlike in the Assembly elections, there is no limit on expenditure by the candidates contesting the MLC polls.
As many as 90 candidates are trying their luck in the MLC elections, of which Congress’ Gayathri Shanthe Gowda is the loan female candidate.
About 99,062 voters are expected to exercise their franchise on December 10, including 47,205 male and 51,854 female voters.
The elections are crucial for the ruling BJP to attain majority in the 75-member Upper House. BJP currently needs 13 seats to achieve majority.