New Delhi: Karnataka Assembly election will be held in a single phase on May 5 and counting of votes will be on May 8, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.
Announcing the schedule for election to the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said, "The model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect."
The CEC said the poll notification will be issued on April 10 when candidates can start filing nominations. The last date for nominations is April 17 and after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is April 20.
The polls will be held from 8 AM to 5 PM and electronic voting machines will be used for these elections. There are a total of 4.18 crore voters in Karnataka and as many as 50,446 polling stations will set up.
While 36 constituencies are reserved for SCs, 15 are reserved for STs in the state.
The tenure of the current 224-member Karnataka Assembly expires on June 3. The last assembly polls were held in three phases.
Sampath said adequate number of general, expenditure, police and micro observers will be deployed to check the use of money power during elections. There will also be close monitoring of any cases of paid news.
He said contesting candidates will have to file their details in a single Form 26, the revised format of filing affidavits listing out their criminal record and other details.
The CEC said polling parties and security forces deployed for poll duty will be randomised as per EC instructions under the supervision of election observers.
The CEC said police officials will not be allowed to work in their home districts and officials who have completed three years at a station will also be shifted.
He said the EC will put in place a complaint redressal mechanism where public can file complaints related to elections. Complaints can be filed by dialling a toll-free number 1950.
To check paid news, Media Certification and Monitoring Committees have also been set up at state and district level.
The EC will also ensure protection to SC/ST electors and other vulnerable sections and all poll activity will be videographed in the state.
The announcement of elections comes after a meeting of top election officials with Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh on Wednesday on the availability of security forces for smooth conduct of polls in the southern state.
Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma held the meeting with Home Secretary along and other officials.
Election officials have already held consultations with state authorities and met various political parties in the state during their visit to Karnataka. Karnataka is currently ruled by BJP which is struggling ever since former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa left the party and floated his own outfit.
The Karnataka Assembly has a strength of 224. In the last elections, BJP had bagged 110 sewats, Congress 80, JD(S) 28 and others 6.