Race to the reign: The voting in Karnataka assembly polls concludes...Next stop: The Voters Verdict!

The voting in Karnataka assembly polls has concluded at 6 pm on Wednesday - May 10 and the voters verdict would be declared on Saturday - May 13, during which the state would get a winner in the race to the reign. The 224 seats went to the single-phase polling on Wednesday after a scorching political campaign between the arch-nemesis BJP and the Congress. 

The voting in Karnataka began at 7 am on Wednesday and 2,615 candidates were on the ballots. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), the majority mark to form the government is 113 seats. The state had 5,31,33,054 eligible voters and over 58,000 polling booths were installed across the state. Karnataka has also become the first state to have home-voting facility for the citizens who are 80 and above.

From the morning, the voters had queued up before their respective booths and cast their votes. During the first two hours, the voter turnout was 8.21% and as hours passed, the voting trend suggested that the turnout won't be as big as expected. Karnataka had recorded 20.9% voter turnout till 11 am as the numbers were slowly pacing up with good voter turnouts from the coastal districts. 

The voter turnout till 1 pm stood at 37.25% and the coastal district of Udupi recorded the highest turnout of 47.49 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm while central parts of Bengaluru recorded the lowest - 29.42 per cent. As per the data from ECI, the state had recorded 52.03% voter turnout till 3 pm and eventually, the voter turnout till 5 pm was 65.69% and as the voting has concluded at 6 pm, the final tally of voter turnout would be released soon. 

Karnataka had recorded a voter turnout of 72.36 per cent in the 2018 Assembly polls and it is less likely that the current trend would beat the previous one. The race to the reign between the BJP, Congress, and JD(S) is on its climax with the voters' verdict would get declared on Saturday. While the opinion polls have predicted that the Congress would win the election with a clear majority, the BJP is trying to retain the reign and to break the history that no party has won the successive term in Karnataka. 

After casting his vote, former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who quit the BJP and joined Congress ahead of the polls, said, "Very good response from the people. There is an undercurrent. People from all castes, everybody is working and voting for me. Congress & Jagadish Shettar will get elected with a huge margin." Senior Congress leader Siddharamaiah said, "There is a tremendous response from the voters. I will get more than 60% of the votes."

"Congress will form the government on its own. I am not going to retire but I will not contest elections. This is my last election", he added. After casting his vote, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Congress party will win the election with a thumping majority. We will get more than 130 to 135 seats."