Bangalore: In what is being seen as a "semi-final" before Assembly elections due in May, polls to urban local bodies in BJP-ruled Karnataka will be held on Thursday.
About 85 lakh people are eligible to cast their ballot in 208 urban local bodies, seven city corporations, 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 93 town panchayats; besides electing members of seven city corporations across the state, including Mysore, Mangalore, Davangere, Hubli Dharwad, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bellary in north Karnataka.
The polls are sure to be a "litmus test" for the contending political outfits, with Assembly polls just around the corner. Previously in 2007 (BJP government came to power in 2008), the Congress topped the tally, winning 1,606 wards, followed by JDS 1,502 and the BJP 1,180.
Stakes are particularly high for the ruling BJP as the party is without heavyweight BS Yeddyurappa, who in 2012 parted ways and floated his own regional outfit Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).
With two new regional parties KJP and the BSR Congress of the Reddy brothers of Bellary in the fray, the Congress, BJP and JDS too are fielding candidates in almost all wards. There are over 21,000 candidates in the fray for a total of 4,967 wards. Results would be declared on March 11.
With Additional Inputs From PTI