The Election Commission has announced the dates for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections. The state will go to vote on May 12.
Votes will be counted three days later, on May 15.
The tenure of the 224-member Assembly ends on May 28.
The state is currently ruled by the Congress, for which these elections can be a make-or-break factor after a series of electoral losses.
Key details of the upcoming elections
The EC announced other important dates for the elections at a press conference today. The gazette notification will be issued on April 17, and nominations will be accepted till April 24.
Individuals can withdraw candidature till April 27.
This time in Karnataka, like all other recent polls, VVPAT machines will be deployed along with EVMs.
Since last year, EC has mandatorily been using VVPATs.
Model Code of Conduct in effect from now
The Model Code of Conduct has come into effect, including for the Center. This might mean the Union government, which was considering approaching the SC to seek a deadline for formulating a solution in the Cauvery water dispute, might not be able to do so.
The swords are drawn, the strategy is decided
The Congress, which currently holds 122 seats, has retained incumbent CM Siddaramaiah as its main candidate in the upcoming polls.
The BJP, with 43 seats, has meanwhile fielded former CM BS Yeddyurappa as its prime face to take on Siddaramaiah.
BJP IT cell head controversially tweets election dates before EC
The announcement of election details today was marred by controversy as Amit Malviya, BJP's IT Cell Head, tweeted out the dates before they were announced by the EC.
Responding to the incident, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said, "Certain things may have leaked for which EC will take appropriate action. It'll be investigated. Be assured that actions legally and administratively befitting will be taken."
2018 assembly-elections to set the course for the 2019 battle
Karnataka is the fourth state to go to polls this year after Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland. All three voted in February.
In all three states, BJP managed to form the government. Congress was decimated.
BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan and Mizoram will also go to polls in 2018.
These elections will set the course for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.