Bengaluru: The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have locked horns to outsmart each other in the Karnataka assembly election on Saturday, with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) making the contest triangular.

“If the Congress is desperate to retain power defying anti-incumbency, the BJP is impatient to return to power in south India after losing badly 5 years ago, while the JD-S wages a lone battle to play a key role in the new government formation,” a poll analyst told.

Single-phase polling will be held across the state in 223 assembly segments, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) candidates. The election in south Bengaluru’s Jayanagar constituency was countermanded following the death of BJP’s candidate B.N. Vijayakumar on May 4.One member is nominated in the 225-member assembly.

A total of 4.97-crore electorate includes 2.52-crore men and 2.45-crore women. They will cast their ballots in 56,696 polling booths across the state amidst tight security, with 45,000 personnel from 585 the central and state forces deployed.

“In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women; 222 are from the Congress, 222 from BJP, 201 from JD-S, 1,155 Independents and about 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties,” state Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told. With the largest number (28) of assembly seats in a district, Bengaluru will witness a battle of sorts as 449 contestants, including 37 women, are in the race.