The Election Commission has extended the hours of poll in the Karnataka elections citing the sub-section (2) of section 15 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The polling time earlier mentioned under Section 56 of the said Act notified hours of poll to begin from 7.00 am and to complete by 5.00 pm as the hours of poll during which the poll shall be taken in all the assembly constituencies of the state.
Keeping in view the changed prospects for BJP and Congress owing to the emergence of a third player JD(S), the political parties with cadre strength will benefit from the extension of one hour in the evening.
Under the new notification, elections to Karnataka Legislative assembly will be held on May 12 from 7.00 A.M. in the morning to 6.00 P.M. in the evening.
"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," said a statement issued by EC.
Going beyond administrative reasons, the extension of one hour of polling time usually benefits the major parties which have huge number of cadre members who engage in electioneering and facilitating the polling for their party till 5 PM. After the poll, most of them have either no time or forget to vote.
Since the poll is on Saturday, usually a weekend holiday, it should not make much difference for the ordinary voter. It remains to be seen whether this step helps BJP or Congress.