Assembly elections

Karnataka elections: Exit polls predict hung Assembly with BJP ahead, Congress close second

The Bharatiya Janata Party is forecast to make massive inroads into the state Assembly, while the Janata Dal (Secular) is set to play kingmaker.

Various exit polls on Saturday predicted a hung House in Karnataka even as the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to make massive inroads into the state Assembly. Exit polls were divided on whether the BJP or the Congress will be the single largest party – but whichever party wins seems likely to need the support of the Janata Dal (Secular) to form government.

Only one exit poll – that of India Today-Axis – has forecast a party reaching close to the majority mark. Two exit polls have predicted a three-figure number for the BJP in an Assembly that needs a party to win 113 seats to form government.

Voting for 222 of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka ended at 6 pm on Saturday, with a turnout of 70%, according to ANI. Two constituencies – Bengaluru’s Rajarajeswari Nagar and Jayanagar – will vote later. The counting of votes will take place on May 15.

The elections are significant because Karnataka is the only major state remaining with the Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party is keen to add it to its kitty before the Lok Sabha elections next year.

According to Jan Ki Baat’s exit polls, the BJP is likely to win 95 to 114 seats. The figures for Congress were 73 to 82 seats, while the JD(S) is likely to win 32 to 43 seats. India Today-Axis My India has predicted 106 to 118 seats for Congress, 79 to 92 seats for the BJP and 22 to 30 seats for the JD(S) and allies.

Times Now-VMR has predicted a much closer contest between the two main parties, but with an edge for the Congress, with 90 to 103 seats. The BJP is likely to win 80 to 93 seats according to the exit poll.

NewsX-CNX, meanwhile, has forecast a seat tally of 102 to 110 for the BJP and 72 to 78 for the Congress. Another exit poll, by ABP News-CVoter, has predicted 101 to 113 seats for the BJP and 82 to 94 for the Congress according to responses collected by 4 pm. This poll also put the JD(S) in the kingmaker’s position, with 18 to 31 constituencies.

Congress is likely to win 39% of the votes and the BJP 35%, according to India Today-Axis My India.

Dighvijay News predicted that the BJP will win between 103 and 107 seats, while Congress will get 76 to 80. The JD(S) will win between 31 and 35 seats according to the exit poll. According to the News Nation exit poll, the BJP will win 105 to 109 seats, the Congress is likely to win between 71 and 75 seats. The JD(S) is likely to win 36 to 40 seats, the exit poll predicted.

Today’s Chanakya has forecast a seat tally of 120 seats for the BJP, and 73 seats for the Congress. The JD(S) is likely to secure 26 seats, according to the exit poll.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyrurappa have both expressed their confidence that they will lead the state. Yeddyurappa predicted he will take oath on May 17, and claimed his party would win 145 to 150 seats. Siddaramaiah responded by calling him “mentally disturbed”, and said the Congress would win 120 seats.

The third major party in the fray, the Janata Dal (Secular), also appeared to be confident of winning enough seats all by itself. Party leader HD Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) would “cross the magic number on its own”.

The JD(S) has refused to openly back either the Congress or the BJP for the polls, and is likely to play kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly.

In the previous elections in Karnataka, the Congress had won a simple majority, with 122 seats, while the BJP and JD(S) had managed 40 seats each. The BJP last ruled the state between 2008 and 2013, albeit with three different chief ministers.

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