Almost three hours after counting of votes in EVMs started for 222 of 224 Assembly seats, it is now clear that the BJP is set to form government in the state.
While the first hour saw postal ballots being counted and trends were clearly showing a tight fight between the Congress and BJP as the EVMs were opened, the BJP took lead.
The BJP has now crossed the halfway mark in leads and is heading towards at least 125 seats. Two of the seats, RR Nagar and Jayanagar, will see repoll on May 28.
According to the leads available on the Election Commission of India website, the BJP has taken a lead in 114 seats, just three seats short of a simple majority. The Congress is leading in 55 seats and the JD(S) in 37 at 11.06 a.m.
The three-way contest is between the incumbent Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, the BJP which has projected BS Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate and the JD(S) which is likely to emerge as the kingmaker should the result end in a hung assembly.
Voting, which took place on May 12, saw Karnataka’s highest voter turnout (72.13 per cent) since the 1952 Assembly elections. Counting of votes will be held across 38 centres in 33 districts of the state
Even though most exit polls predicted a hung assembly, BJP surged ahead towards the magic 113 victory mark in the Karnataka elections on Tuesday, leaving the ruling Congress stunned and JD(S) at a distant third spot.
As BJP Falls Short of Majority Mark, Here's What Could Happen in Karnataka NowWith the BJP falling short of the halfway mark by 8 seats, the Congress has offered to support a Janata Dal (Secular)-led government in Karnataka to keep the saffron party out of power.
The numbers are stacked up in three neat blocks with only two unattached MLAs, who have also declared allegiance to the Congress.
While the BJP has 104 seats, Congress has won in 78 seats and the JD(S) has got 38 seats. JDS has agreed to the Congress support and their joint tally right now stands at 118 seats.
The two parties have called all their MLAs to Bengaluru and are likely to stake claim to forming government in the evening. But the BJP has also reached out to JDS supremo Deve Gowda and there could be another twist in the tale.
This has opened up the possibility of a government formed by both Congress and the BJP, with JD(S) being the real kingmaker.
Here are the possible scenarios:
1) Governor invites BJP: As per the convention, the single largest party is given the first chance to form the government. If BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa is sworn in to form the government, he would need eight more MLAs to go reach the halfway mark. For that, he will either need JD(S)'s support or they will have to break MLAs from either the Congress or the JD(S).
• BJP breaks Congress or JD(S): To break either congress or JD(S) they would need at least two-third of the MLAs to go with them. This could be a tough ask for BJP.
• Operation Lotus Redux: Like the last time when BJP came to power in Karnataka, BJP can again try and get some of the Congress or JD(S) MLAs to resign as it would bring down the half-way mark.
2) Governor Invites JD(S): As it has been seen in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya elections, in spite of being the single largest party, Congress was not called to form the government. The Governor instead chose the coalition which could cobble up the majority. When the Goa decision of the Governor was challenged in Supreme Court, the court had said that 'the holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility.' If JD(S) is asked to form the government then with the support of the Congress, they would easily cross the halfway mark.
3) BJP offers support to JD(S): This is highly unlikely but in the strange world of real-politics, no possibility can be fully disregarded. The BJP has reached out to Deve Gowda, but JDS has already said that they will go with Congress.
But what is undoubtedly clear is whoever is invited to form the government would certainly have the crucial first movers advantage in cobbling together a majority