Bengaluru: Billed as the curtain raiser for the state assembly elections due in May, the urban local body(ULB) polls on Thursday will see voters in 208 ULBs and seven city corporations—nearly 84 lakh of them— lining up at polling booths to exercise their franchise.
Elections to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), the largest city corporation in the state, were last held in 2010 with the next election set to happen in 2015. The seven city corporations going to polls include Gulbarga, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore, Belgaum, Mysore, Bellary and Davangere.
Different political parties have fielded a total 21,974 candidates across 4,867 wards to test their fortunes. In 85 wards, candidates have already been elected unopposed while there are no contestants for 24 seats! No party is contesting all 4,976 seats.
The Congress which topped in the 2007 elections winning 1,606 seats, has again fielded the highest number of candidates -4,492. The ruling BJP has put up only 3,954 candidates while JD(S) has 3,651 nominees in the fray. The newly floated KJP of B.S. Yeddyurappa and BSR Congress have put up 1,966 and 1,496 candidates respectively.
In addition, there are 5,900 independents in the fray. According to Election Commission sources, the state government will be spending at least Rs 45 crore for the ULB polls, which includes the purchase of 12,170 electronic voting machines (Rs 15 crore).
Most of the parties have gone in for local tie-ups with area-specific problems of more interest to voters than state or national issues.