The Election Commission (EC) on Friday announced extension of polling time by an hour up to 6 pm in Saturday's Karnataka Assembly elections, in view of the weather conditions and excessive heat.
While the EC had earlier fixed the polling time from 7 AM to 5 PM, it has now announced that polling will be held from 7 AM to 6 PM in the entire state.
"The Commission has now taken into account the prevailing weather conditions in large parts of the state, particularly the extreme heat during the day, and considered it necessary to extend the hours of poll to facilitate the voters to cast their votes even in the late hours.
"Accordingly, the Commission has today notified that the hours of poll for the elections in entire state will be 7.00 AM to 6.00 PM, i.e. extending it by one hour in the afternoon," an EC order said.
"The Commission expects that its decision will help voters to turnout in large numbers and exercise their franchise," it said.
Prohibition on publication of exit polls has also been extended till 6:30 PM. "In the light of the above notification, the prohibition period for conducting and publication of exit polls stands automatically extended till 6.30 PM on 5th May 2013, for which a separate notification has also been issued," the EC order said.
The high stake polls for the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will see Congress seeking to oust Jagadish Shettar-led BJP government.