BJP, Cong jump poll schedule gun

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BJP's IT Cell head Amit Malviya disclosing the poll schedule ahead of the formal announcement. Photographs of all candidates will be attached to the voting machines.

A "Karnataka Election Anthem" is also being written by film and music director Yograj Bhat which is due to be released in a week.

The results will be declared on May 15, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat announced on Tuesday. Seen as a trial run for the bigger contest in 2019, preceded by polls in BJP-run Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh later this year, Karnataka could be a harbinger of which side the nation will embrace, as the BJP goes all out to secure a state it once proclaimed as its gateway to the South. He said the date of notification is April 17 and the last date to file nominations is April 24.

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In statement that came shortly after the controversy erupted, the election commission had referred to Malviya's tweet and said, "The Commission immediately directed that the matter be probed and necessary and effective action be taken". Though he deleted the tweet, he got the poll date right but the date of counting wrong. The EC said social media is a reality but precautions will be taken. Indeed, not unlike Punjab where it was Captain Amarinder Singh, who was virtually the lone spearhead of the Congress campaign, in Karnataka too the central Congress leadership has a marginal role to play, with the shots being called by the outgoing chief minister Siddaramiah.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress Leader and the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee also accused the BJP-led NDA government of "using and misusing" all agencies, including the Election Commission. With the announcement of the elections dates on Tuesday, the model code of conduct has come into effect, which bars all the political parties and ministers to announce any new schemes before the elections. With an eye on the Assembly poll, Siddaramaiah Government has taken many decisions, some of them highly controversial, which he hopes would pay him electoral dividend. The BJP is making a concerted bid to unseat the Congress.

The survey, carried out by a poll agency named CHS, predicted 77-81 seats for Congress, 73-76 seats for BJP and 64-66 seats for the JD (S). In case of a hung House, Deve Gowda's JD (S) will hold the trump card.