Assembly elections

Karnataka elections: Exit polls predict JD(S) as kingmaker after 70% voter turnout

Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called his BJP opponent ‘mentally disturbed’, and said he was confident of a Congress victory.

Voting for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the only major state that the Congress governs, took place on Saturday. A 70% voter turnout was recorded in the elections for 222 of the 224 constituencies. Bengaluru’s Rajarajeswari and Jayanagar constituencies will go to the polls later. The state has close to five crore registered voters who will choose from over 2,600 candidates.

Incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyrurappa have both expressed their confidence that they will lead the state.

8.12 pm: The Election Commission says the voter turnout is around 70% and expected to increase, ANI reports. The urban voting percentage remained significantly lower than that of rural areas, says Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha.

7.56 pm: In a press conference, the Election Commission claims to have recovered as much as Rs 94 crore in cash and liquor worth Rs 24.78 crore in the run-up to the elections. The EC also recovered sarees, vehicles, dhotis, utensils and electronic gadgets worth Rs 66 crores. “This is more than eight times the seizures made in last Assembly election,” the EC says.

7.32 pm: Various exit polls have predicted a hung House. Some have forecast a close contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, while others see the BJP ahead – yet not with enough to form government on its own. The Janata Dal (Secular) is set to play kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly.

7.00 pm: The Election Commission said the total voter turnout was 70%, ANI reports.

6.45 pm: The Election Commission says voting has been completed in almost all polling stations, except at few polling stations where voters are still standing in the queue, ANI reports.

6.20 pm: Polling ends in Karnataka. Chief electoral officer for Karnataka, Sanjiv Kumar, will address a press conference at 8 pm.

5.50 pm: A voter turnout of 61.25% was recorded till 5 pm, ANI reports.

5.45 pm: Re-polling will take place on May 14 in Hebbal Assembly constituency’s polling station number 2 as polling was stopped due to an EVM failure, ANI reports.

5.42 pm: There had been messages circulated on messaging platforms that voting time has been extended till 6.30 pm. However, the Election Commission clarifies that polling won’t extend beyond 6 pm. “Polling has been peaceful so far. Voting won’t be extended and will end at 6 pm,” the poll panel says.

5.37 pm: Congress candidate from Holenarasipur constituency BP Manje Gowde alleges that he was attacked by JD(S) workers at Parasanahalli. He says a mob threw stones at his car and his assistant suffered a head injury, The Indian Express reports.

5.30 pm: The Congress party accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday of violating the model election code of conduct by visiting temples during his Nepal trip. However, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale says the dates for the prime minister’s visit to Nepal were decided in February. “No one prime minister alone can say that I will come at this time. So, don’t focus on the dates, but focus on the content of this visit,” Gokhale says.

4.40 pm: The police in Kolar city arrested four persons for allegedly enticing women voters with nose rings, The Hindu reports. In Malur constituency, a man was reportedly seen distributing money to voters coming out of the polling booth.

3.27 pm: JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy appeals to voters to reject offers of money for votes, even if someone from his own party does it. “Everywhere it is going on, not only from my party but all parties, all candidates are distributing money,” he tells Times Now.

3.23 pm: Narendra Modi is going to temples as he is sure he will lose, Siddaramaiah tells NDTV, as he predicts victory for himself in both the seats he is contesting from.

3.16 pm: The voter turnout has reached 56% as of 3 pm, ANI reports.

3.12 pm: Siddaramaiah says income tax raids were ordered against Congress workers and supporters out of desperation because the BJP was sure it would lose the election, PTI reports. He says his party will raise the concern with the Election Commission after the elections and in the Parliament.

3.08 pm: Siddaramaiah now calls BJP President Amit Shah “a comedy show” for the second time in a week, and says that Narendra Modi’s image has “drastically declined”. “His [Modi’s] speeches are completely hollow and have made no impact on the voters of Karnataka,” Siddaramaiah tells ANI. “Therefore we are not worried.”

3.04 pm: Former Union minister and BJP leader SM Krishna casts his vote in Bengaluru, ANI reports.

3.02 pm: A 70-year-old who came to vote died in Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada district, Bangalore Mirror reports.

2.16 pm: Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah casts his vote in Chamundeshwari, one of the two constituencies from where he is contesting.

2.07 pm: A voter turnout of 37% was recorded till 1 pm, ANI reports.

1.40 pm: Siddaramaiah claims the JD(S) has a tacit tie-up with the BJP, and alleges a JD(S) candidate has distributed money for votes.

1.20 pm: There have been reports of minor clashes between Congress and BJP workers. BJP workers assaulted a Congress worker at Mavinatopu village in Tiptur taluk, while Congress men beat up a BJP corporator in Hampi Nagar.

12.30 pm: Siddaramaiah calls his opponent Yeddyurappa “mentally disturbed”.

12 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa expresses his confidence that his party will win and says he will take oath on May 17. “The BJP will win 145-150 seats”, he says.

11.40 am: Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy also says his party would “cross the magic number on its own”. The JD(S) has refused to openly back either the Congress or BJP for the polls, and is likely to play kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly.

11.15 am: Twenty-four percent voter turnout has been recorded up to 11 am, reports ANI.

10 am: “We are confident. BJP will not win more than 60-70 seats maximum, forget getting 150. They are just dreaming of forming the Government,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge tells ANI.

9.30 am: Up to 9.15 am, a voter turnout of 10.6% was recorded, The News Minute quoted the Election Commission as saying. Karnataka’s chief electoral officer told the news website that early trends suggest the voting percentage will be high.

8.45 am: According to ANI, a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machine at booth number 108 in Hubli is faulty, after which voting has been briefly suspended.

8.40 am: Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah says the people of Karnataka are queuing up for a “liberal, progressive” state government.

8 am: The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa cast his vote in Shikarpur in Shimoga district, while Union minister and BJP leader Sadananda Gowda cast his vote in Dakshina Kannada district’s Puttur city.

“People are fed up with the Siddaramaiah government,” Yeddyurappa told ANI. “I urge the people to come out and vote for BJP. I assure the people of Karnataka that I am going to give good governance.”

A bitter fight

The Election Commission on Friday postponed polling in Rajarajeswari to May 28 after close to 10,000 voter identity cards were confiscated from a flat in Jalahalli locality of Bengaluru. The election in Jayanagar will be held later as Bharatiya Janata Party MLA BN Vijayakumar died on May 4 while campaigning.

The run up to the elections has been overshadowed by the Jalahalli incident, which triggered a bitter battle between the Congress and the BJP. The Opposition party has accused the ruling Congress of electoral fraud since the visiting cards and stickers of an incumbent Congress MLA were found in the apartment. The Congress has responded by accused the BJP of attempting to discredit it.

The Congress, meanwhile, urged the Election Commission on Friday to disqualify BJP leader B Sriramulu a day after it released two videos that allegedly show him attempting to bribe a relative of former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan for a favourable verdict in an illegal mining case. Sriramulu is contesting the elections against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Badami.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.