Bangalore, March 6 (IANS) Karnataka will Thursday see polling for 208 urban local bodies whose outcome is being seen as a referendum on the BJP's corruption-scarred rule in the state, ahead of assembly elections due in May.
Vote count in on March 11.
The local bodies are spread across all 30 districts of the state.
Over 8.5 million voters of the state's total electorate of more than 40 million, are eligible to vote in the polls to the seven city corporations (excluding Bangalore), 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 93 town panchayats.
Elections to the Bangalore civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or Greater Bangalore City Corporation, were held in 2010 and are due in 2015.
Balloting will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 10,000 polling booths, supervised by around 46,000 officials.
Over a 100,000 police personnel will be on poll duty Thursday to ensure orderly balloting.
Voting will be held to elect 4,867 representatives as 85 have been elected unopposed and there were no nominations for 24 seats, according to the state election commission.
More than 21,000 candidates are in the fray with the Congress fielding the highest number of candidates, 4,492, followed by Bharatiya Janata Party 3,954 and Janata Dal-Secular 3,651.
Two new outfits -the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and BSR ('Badavara Shramikara Mattu Raithara' or poor, workers and farmers') Congress - both floated by former BJP men are also in the fray.
The KJP, headed by former BJP chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, has fielded 1,966 candidates while BSR Congress, floated by former BJP minister B. Sriramulu 1,496.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is contesting 133 seats.
The rest are independents.
Though the outcome will impact the morale of all the parties in the fray, focus is mainly on the show the BJP will put up.
This is the first major election the BJP is facing after coming to power in the state for the first time in May 2008.
The results will be a test of popularity of Jagadish Shettar, who is BJP's third chief minister in over four years. This is the first elections after he took office in July last year.
The BJP has also declared that he is the party's chief ministerial candidate in the forthcoming assembly polls.
The results will also have a major bearing on Yeddyurappa's political fortunes.
He has made his intentions very clear - to defeat BJP. To achieve this goal, he has asked his supporters to work for the victory of Congress candidates in places where KJP is not contesting or is not sure of winning.
The Congress was the major winner in the last polls to these local bodies held five years ago, followed by JDS and BJP.