Update: 56 per cent voter turnout till 3 pm.

Desk: Voting in Karnataka began at 7 am on Saturday with 24 % voter turnout recorded till 11 am and 10.6 % recorded till 9 am.

The polling is underway at 58,546 polling stations. Each station has Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs).

However, election in Jayanagar and R.R. Nagar constituencies has been postponed.

Karnataka election is considered crucial for the Congress Party as it would be looking to prevent the BJP juggernaut from expanding its footprints in the south.

Since the 2014 general election, the Congress has been defeated by the BJP in over a dozen states, drastically shrinking its political footprint.

The BJP is making an all-out bid to oust the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka and is looking to come back to power in the state with B.S. Yeddyurappa, its chief ministerial candidate. Interestingly, no incumbent government has been re-elected in Karnataka since 1985.

The Janata Dal (Secular) is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics and is expected to give a tough fight to both the BJP and the Congress.

A total of 2,654 candidates are in the fray and 4.96-crore electorate, including 2.44 crore women, will cast their votes. Over 15 lakh people are first-time voters in the 18-19 age group.

Tight security is in place to ensure smooth and peaceful polling in the 222 constituencies spread across 30 districts, out of 224 of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

The counting of votes and announcement of results will take place on May 15.

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