Bengaluru, Apr 24: The Election Commission has extended the voting time by one hour for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. While voting was earlier scheduled on May 12 from 7 am to 5 pm, it will now take place on the same date from 7 am to 6 pm. The poll panel has taken the decision keeping in mind “extreme heat” and introduction of VVPAT machines. “The Commission considers that in view of the extreme heat in the State of Karnataka at present and also due to the introduction of VVPAT, it is necessary to extend the hours of poll to facilitate all the voters to cast their votes even in the late hours,” the poll panel said in a statement on Monday.

Voting for the Karnataka polls will take place on May 12 while counting of votes for the 224-seat Assembly will take place on May 15. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are finalising candidates for the polls and have released respective lists over the past few days.

An opinion poll ahead of the elections has predicted that the Congress party is likely to win a total of 91 seats while the BJP is expected to manage with 89 seats in the Karnataka Assembly Election 2018. No major political party will cross the magic mark of 112 and form a government in Karnataka, says the poll, adding that the JDS may get 40 seats this election.

Earlier, another opinion poll predicted that the Congress would emerge as the single-largest party while the BJP may win 76-86 seats in Karnataka. According to the Karnataka opinion poll results, the Congress, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, is likely to win between 90 and 101 seats in 225-member Assembly. In terms of vote share, the Congress will get 37 per cent of votes, the BJP 35 per cent and the JD (S)-BSP alliance 19 per cent, suggested the opinion poll.