As the Election Commission announced a single phase poll for the Karnataka assembly on May 5, the focus shifted to finalisation of candidates by principal political parties -- the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, which have already shortlisted nominees in majority of seats.
The opposition Congress, riding high after its impressive show in the recent elections to urban local bodies, has stolen the march with its election committee finalising the party's probables list earlier this week.
It has been sent to the screening committee, sources in the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee said adding, most of the sitting party members of Legislative Assembly are expected to be renominated. Karnataka is the first major state to go to polls after Rahul Gandhi became the Congress vice-president.
The BJP, bruised after its below-par performance in the urban local body polls where it received a jolt by the Karnataka Janatha Paksha of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who broke away from the ruling party last year, has short-listed candidates for about 150 of the 224 constituencies.
It had earlier indicated that all sitting MLAs will get tickets. JDS state unit President H D Kumaraswamy said, his party will release the list of candidates for around 150 constituencies by March 23.
The presence of KJP and BSR Congress of former BJP Minister B Srimamulu, has added a new dimension to the coming assembly poll, with some analysts saying the two could play spoilsport for the BJP, like they did in the ULB polls.
In the outgoing 224-member Assembly, the BJP has a strength of 104, followed by the Congress 71, JDS 25, while there are 16 vacancies, caused largely by those from the ruling party shifting their loyalty to the KJP.