The ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka on Tuesday welcomed the single-phase Assembly polls on May 12, while regional party Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) termed it a setback."The JD-S had requested the Election Commission (EC) to conduct the polls in two or three phases, as we are a regional party with limited number of campaign leaders."It is very difficult for us as a regional party. Single-phase polls is a setback for us," JD-S state spokesman Ramesh Babu told IANS here.Single-phase polling for the 15th 225-member Assembly will be held on May 12 and the votes counted on May 15, the EC announced on Tuesday.BJP President Amit Shah, who is on a two-day tour in central Karnataka, expressed confidence over a poll victory."The BJP welcomes the poll announcement. We are confident that we will form the next government in Karnataka under the leadership of (BJP state President) B.S. Yeddyurappa," Shah told the media in Davanagere, about 260km northwest from here in Davanagere district.Congress state unit chief G. Parameshwara said the party was election-ready.
"The Congress welcomes the EC's (poll) announcement... we are election ready," tweeted Parameshwara.The JD-S spokesman ruled out any pre-poll tie-up of the party with the BJP or the Congress."The JD-S is very clear in the matter (over alliance with other parties) that it wants to maintain equidistance from both the BJP and Congress," Babu said."Both parties are two sides of the same coin, not caring about the people and farmers of Karnataka," he said.In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated, there are currently 122 members from the ruling Congress, 43 from the Bharatiya Janata Party, 30 from the Janata Dal-Secular, eight Independents, 14 vacant seats, with a few others from regional parties.Of the 224 Assembly constituencies, 36 are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes.A total of 4.96 crore electors have been registered in the southern state with the poll panel so far.