Ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections due in May, political parties are set to get an indication of people's mood next week when results of the urban local bodies polls will be declared. Voting will take place for 208 local bodies March 7 and results will be known four days later.
Around 8.5 million voters, about 30% of the state's total electorate, are eligible to cast their ballots in the polls being held for seven city corporations (excluding Bangalore), 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 93 town panchayats where issues of water, power, sanitation, health, etc. touch their everyday lives.
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.
A total of 4,967 representatives will be elected to run these local bodies for five years.
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 for the 4,867 seats.
The Congress, which was the biggest winner in the last polls held five years ago, has fielded the highest number of candidates (4,492) followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (3,954) and Janata Dal-Secular (3,651).
This is the first urban local bodies poll the BJP would be facing across the state after coming to power in Karnataka for the first time in May 2008.
Thursday's polls will also be the testing of electoral waters for two new parties -- the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and BSR ('Badavara Shramikara Mattu Raithara' or poor, workers and farmers') Congress.
The KJP, headed by former BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, has fielded 1,966 candidates while BSR Congress, floated by former BJP minister B Sriramulu has 1,496 candidates.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist is contesting for 133 seats.
About 5,900 independents are also in the fray.