Bengaluru : With trends pouring in from all 222 seats, for which votes were counted in Karnataka Assembly elections, the BJP has comfortably crossed the half-way mark with leads on 112 seats. The Congress stands far behind with leads on just 68 seats.
The third major player – Janata Dal Secular, which was expected to emerge as the kingmaker, stands at the third position with leads on 40 seats. Counting of votes for 222 Assembly seats in Karnataka began at 8 am on Tuesday, with both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) exhuming confidence of a victory. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah does not seem comfortable on both Chamundeshwari and Badami Assembly seats.
Polling for the 222 seats took place on May 12 as fate of 2,655 candidates was locked in EVMs. Karnataka recorded a record voter turnout of 72.13 per cent – the highest since the 1952 Karnataka Assembly elections.
Karnataka witnessed a high-decibel campaign with big names like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi leading the battle for the BJP and the Congress respectively. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is facing a tough battle to ensure Congress returns to power.
Even history is against him as no party has been able to win two consecutive Karnataka Assembly elections since the Janata Dal’s victory in 1983 and 1985. Siddaramaiah on Sunday sounded confident of Congress retaining power and added that this was his last election. He contested from two seats – Chamundeshwari and Badami.
He had also ruled out that Congress was exploring a post-poll alliance with the former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led JDS. The Congress has been facing a string of electoral routs over the last few years with the only exception being Punjab Assembly elections 2017 and apart a win in Karnataka will come as a shot in the arm for the Grand Old Party.
PM Modi, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa and party national president Amit Shah had claimed that their party would secure a majority on its own in Karnataka Assembly. Yeddyurappa predicted that the BJP would win 130 seats and the Congress would be relegated to a distant second with just 70 while the JDS would bag 25 seats.
Exit polls had predicted a hung Assembly with almost all of them predicting a close contest between the ruling Congress and its main rival the BJP with JDS expected to play the role of a kingmaker if no party manages to secure a majority on its own. At present, the majority mark is 112 as results will be declared for only 222 seats.