As the counting of votes for the Karnataka Assembly polls began on Saturday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai exuded confidence in the Bharatiya Janata Party emerging victorious with an absolute majority.
The counting of votes began at 8 am today across the State amid tight security.
“Today is a big day for Karnataka as the people’s verdict for the state will be out. I am confident that BJP will win with absolute majority and give a stable government,” Bommai said while speaking to the media.
The Chief Minister also visited the Hanuman temple in Hubballi.
The exit polls which were out after voting ended on May 10 predicted a hung assembly with some showing Congress returning to power with a majority. Most of the exit polls had predicted that the BJP will fall short of the halfway mark, 113.
Congress is expected to have a clear edge in Karnataka in the assembly elections conducted on May 10 with four exit polls giving it a full majority and some predicting a hung assembly with an advantage to the party.
In such circumstances, the JD(S) can likely play the role of a kingmaker.
However, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that he has not been contacted as yet for the formation of the government in case of a cliffhanger, adding that he is hoping for a good show.
Speaking to the media ahead of the counting, Kumaraswamy cited the exit polls which predicted nearly 30-32 seats to JD(S) and a clear edge to the Congress party with some even predicting a majority for the grand old party and said that according to the predictions, there is no need for him to explore options.
“In the next two to three hours, it will become clear. Exit polls show that the two national parties will score in a big way. The polls have given 30-32 seats to JD(S). I am a small party, there is no demand for me…I am hoping for a good development,” he said.
“No one has contacted me till now. Let us see the final results first. According to the exit polls, there is no need for options. Let us see,” the JD(S) leader added.
The exit polls, which were released after the polling ended in Karnataka, predicted that Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) would not touch the 37 seats it won in the 2018 polls but will continue to be a strong regional player in the state. If Karnataka throws up a hung assembly, the JD-S could emerge in the role of kingmaker.
The fiercely contested election that saw high-pitch campaigns from the political parties is crucial for both BJP and Congress. Hectic electioneering by leaders of various political parties saw BJP allowing Union Ministers and Chief Ministers to campaign with their full force.
The Congress on the other hand worked hard to wrest power from the BJP that is striving to break the 38-year-old pattern of alternating governments and retain its power in the state.
Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, held various roadshows, rallies and elections campaigns. An incumbent government has not returned to power in Karnataka after a full term of five years since 1985.
This report is filed by ANI news service.