Most exit polls have predicted a tight race between the two main rivals - BJP and Congress - in the Karnataka Assembly elections with JD (S) emerging as a likely kingmaker. Counting of votes will be held in Karnataka on May 15 and the actual results will also be declared on the same day.
India Today-Axis were the first to announce their predictions that gave the Congress an absolutely majority in the state, while placing the saffron party second. The exception was the Times Now-Chanakya poll, which gave the BJP a clear majority of 120 seats and the Congress 73.
Around 70 per cent of the almost five crore Karnataka voters cast their ballots on Saturday, with top leaders of all three major parties claiming to get a clear majority.
Bengaluru:The Congress party on Friday submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India seeking the immediate disqualification of B.Sriramulu, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and kingpin of Karnataka's illegal mining baron G.Janardhana Reddy, over allegations of trying to bribe a relative of a Supreme Court judge for a favourable verdict. One seat did not go to the election due to the demise of the BJP candidate and the other due to the seizure of around 10000 Voter Id cards in a constituency. First, markets could view the Karnataka election results as a litmus test of the BJP's popularity in the run-up to the next general election (scheduled for April/May 2019). "By the time we get the final figure, we will have a better turnout than the last election", he added. By evening, the Election Commission ordered repolling on Monday. They predicted 79-82 and 80-93 seats for the BJP, respectively. "The Prime Minister of India himself has brought the level of rhetoric to a new low", points out Congress MLC and legal eagle VS Ugrappa who filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Modi and BJP party chief Amit Shah for defaming the Congress CM candidate, Siddaramaiah.
Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy and his wife Anitha show their inked fingers in Ramnagar. The JD (S) was left with just 26 seats.
Congress banked on its "corruption-free" administration but left more to be done in strengthening its workforce at the booth level during campaign days. The police, who rushed to the spot, said the BJP workers barged into the polling booth, accusing JD (S) workers sitting inside the booth and canvassing for their party candidate.
If it loses Karnataka, Congress will only have two small states, Mizoram and Punjab, and the small territory of Puducherry which together account for about 2.5 percent of India's population of 1.25 billion.
From netas performing cow worship to determining direction of EVMs; old, disabled and transgenders waiting in queues to vote; and villagers opening their homes to help election staff, Karnataka elections displayed the amusing and heartwarming sides of people. 20 seats are vacant and the remaining seats are with Independents and other smaller parties.