Latest update: The Congress crossed the 113-seat mark in the Assembly elections, the majority required to form the government, in Karnataka for which counting of votes took place on Saturday, reports PTI. According to the Election Commission website, the party won 135 seats and was leading in 1 constituencies. On the other hand, the BJP won 65 seats. The JD(S) emerged victorious in 19 seats. Two independents, one candidate each from 'Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha' and 'Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha' won.
- "Best wishes to them in fulfilling people's aspirations": PM congratulates Congress for Karnataka win, according to NDTV
- Leads at 3:30 pm: Congress leads in 135 seats, BJP 65, JDS 20 and Others 4, according to Election Commission of India
- Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai concedes defeat, says "We have not been able to make the mark", reports NDTV
- We will take these results in our stride and try to reorganise party for Lok Sabha elections next year: Bommai on Karnataka results, reports PTI
- We have not been able to make the mark in spite of a lot of effort by everyone, including PM and party workers: Bommai on Karnataka results, reports PTI
- This is the victory of "Janata Janardhan": Cong Chief Kharge on party's good show in K'taka polls, reports PTI
A resurgent Congress appeared headed for a simple majority in Karnataka, and on course to wrest power from the BJP in a morale-boosting victory ahead of next year's Lok Sabha elections, reports PTI.
As per the latest trends, the M Mallikarjun Kharge-led party was leading in 135 constituencies, well above the 113-mark needed for a majority in the 224-member House, elections to which were held on May 10.
The BJP, which won 104 seats in the previous Assembly elections, was ahead in 65 segments and the JD(S) led by former Chief Minister H D Deve Gowda in 20. Others were leading in 4 segments.
While Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai (Shiggaon), former CM Siddaramaiah (Varuna), state Congress President D K Shivakumar (Kanakapura) and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy (Channapatna) are among the prominent faces leading in their respective segments, Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil (Ramanagara), BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi (Chikkamagaluru) and former CM Jagadish Shettar of the Congress (Hubli-Dharwad Central) are trailing.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai concedes defeat, says 'We have not been able to make the mark' Videograb
Siddaramaiah said the party will come to power on its own strength by winning over 120 seats.
The visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and national BJP President J P Nadda have had no impact on the voters of Karnataka, he said.
"Congress party will win by getting over 120 seats; it (counting) is still in the initial stage, more rounds of counting have to be completed. So Congress will come to power by getting over 120 seats on its own strength," the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly said.
Putting up a united front, Congress leaders said making corruption a central campaign theme and promise of free rice, power and employment dole are among the factors that contributed to the party's good performance.
In addition, the Muslim vote, which accounted for nearly 13 per cent of the electorate, consolidated in favour of the Congress party sources said.
"We have put up a united front", a senior Congress leader said. "We were one step ahead in the narratives".
Congress had been attacking the Basavaraj Bommai-led administration months before the elections, and charged it with being a "40 per cent commission" government, while accusing it of corruption.
The Congress had announced five key pre-poll guarantees and said it would give them a stamp of approval in the maiden Cabinet meeting if voted to power.
They are: 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), Rs 3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (Yuva Nidhi), and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti).
"Women voters seemed to have found fancy for our guarantees", a Congress party functionary said. "The BJP themselves had a lot of bickering. They were not happy with the government and governance. High corruption and price rise were other factors that led to our performance".
The performance of the Congress, which put up an aggressive campaign, has come as a boost to its president Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from Karnataka.
"Karnataka happens to be his home State. Naturally, there was a bit of pressure on him", a senior Congress leader said.
- Opposition Congress in Karnataka forged ahead of its rival, the ruling BJP, according to the initial trends of counting, according to PTI
- The Mallikarjun Kharge-led party was leading in 82 seats and the BJP in 66 and the JD(S), led by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, gained an early lead in 21 segments, according to PTI
- Karnataka early leads: Congress reaches halfway mark, according to NDTV
- Congress moves ahead (89 seats) of BJP (74) in Karnataka in very early leads, according to NDTV
- The latest update from Karnataka is that Congress is leading in 89 seats whereas the BJP is ahead in 69 of them, reports India Today
Counting of votes polled in the high-stakes Karnataka Assembly election, which witnessed a fierce fight between arch-rivals BJP and the Congress was taken up across the state on Saturday, with a clear picture on the outcome likely to emerge by mid-day.
The counting began at 8 am in 36 centres across the state amid elaborate security arrangements in place, especially in and around the counting centres to avoid any untoward incidents, official sources said.
Top state leaders--Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Congress' Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy are contesting from different seats.
The State registered a record turnout of 73.19 per cent in the voting on May 10 for the 224 member Assembly.
Exit polls predict tight contest
With most exit polls predicting a tight contest between the Congress and BJP, leaders of the two parties seem "jittery" over the outcome, while the JD(S) appears to be expecting a hung verdict, which would enable it to play a role in government formation. Most pollsters have given an edge to the Congress over the ruling BJP, while also indicating the possibility of a hung Assembly in the state.
The BJP has banked on the Modi juggernaut to swing the voters towards it and is looking to break a 38-year-old poll jinx where the state has never voted the incumbent party to power.The Congress, on the other hand, is eyeing a morale booster victory to give itself a much-needed elbow room and momentum to position itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
It also remains to be seen whether former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) will emerge as a "kingmaker" or a "king" by holding the key to government formation, in the event of a hung verdict, as it has done in the past.
Keeping in lines with the two-decade-old trend, Karnataka witnessed yet another three-cornered electoral contest this time as well, with a direct fight between the BJP, Congress and JD(S) in most of the constituencies.
Aam Aadmi Party also fielded candidates
The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP), which is in power in Delhi and Punjab, has also fielded candidates. Also, there were some smaller parties in the fray in a few constituencies.
"A government with full majority" was the strong pitch of the leaders of all the political parties during campaigning, as they stressed on getting a clear mandate to form a strong and stable government, unlike what happened after the 2018 polls.
The BJP had then emerged as the single largest party by winning 104 seats, followed by Congress with 80 seats and JD(S) at 37. There was also one independent member, while the BSP and Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) got one legislator each elected.
2018 election results
In the 2018 elections, the Congress garnered a vote-share of 38.04 per cent, followed by the BJP (36.22 per cent) and the JD(S) (18.36 per cent).
With no party getting a clear majority then and as Congress and JD(S) were trying to forge an alliance, BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa staked claim and formed the government that was short-lived. It was dissolved within three days, ahead of a trust vote, as Yediyurappa was unable to muster the required numbers.
Subsequently, the Congress-JD(S) alliance formed the government with Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister, but the wobbly dispensation collapsed in 14 months, triggered by the resignation of 17 ruling coalition MLAs. They defected to the BJP and facilitated its return to power. In the bypolls held subsequently in 2019, the ruling party won 12 out of 15 seats, giving the much-needed stability to the government.
In the outgoing Assembly, the ruling BJP has 116 MLAs, followed by the Congress at 69, JD(S) 29, BSP one, independents two, speaker one and vacant six (following deaths and resignations to join other parties ahead of the polls).