The Election Commission today allotted broadcast and telecast time to political parties for carrying out election campaigns on Doordarshan and All India Radio for the May 5 Karnataka assembly elections.
The Commission has decided to extend the equitable time sharing scheme on the electronic media through Prasar Bharati Corporation and the use of broadcast and telecast time will be available only to national parties and recognised state parties in the polls.
While Congress has got the maximum time 166 minutes, the ruling BJP has got 163 minutes in Karnataka for each of broadcast and telecast, followed by JD-S with 111 minutes.
Karnataka will go to polls on May 5 to elect its 224- member Assembly and counting of votes will be held on May 8. The tenure of current Karnataka assembly expires on June 3.
While 36 constituencies are reserved for SCs, 15 are reserved for STs in the state.
The campaigning facility will be available from Regional Kendras of All India Radio and Doordarshan and in the headquarters of Karnataka and relayed by other stations within the state.
The EC has said a base time of 45 minutes will be given to each national party and recognised state party (in respect of Karnataka) uniformly on the Regional Kendra of Doordarshan network and All India Radio network in the State of Karnataka and any additional time allotted is on the basis of performance of parties in the last polls.
No party will, however, be allocated more than 15 minutes in a single session of broadcast and Time Vouchers will be issued in the denomination of 5 minutes to each of the six national parties - BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI, CPI-M, and NCP and the sole recognised regional party - the JD-S.
The period of broadcast and telecast will be between the last date of filing the nominations and will end two days before the date of poll in Karnataka.
"There will, however, be no telecast or broadcast during the 48 hours preceding the close of polls as per specific provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951," the EC said in an order.
In addition to the broadcast by parties, the EC held that Prasar Bharati will organise maximum of two panel discussions and/or debates on the Kendra/Station of DD/AIR and each party can nominate one representative to such a programme. The EC will approve coordinators for such panel discussions/debates.
The poll process in Karnataka will start on April 10 with the issue of notification when candidates can start filing nominations. The last date for nominations is April 17 and after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is April 20.
The polls will be held from 8 AM to 5 PM and electronic voting machines will be used for these elections. There are a total of 4.18 crore voters in Karnataka and as many as 50,446 polling stations will set up.