Exit polls predict tight race as 70 percent turnout recorded in Karnataka polls
New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) Indicating a tight race between the BJP and the Congress, most exit polls for the Karnataka Assembly elections today forecast a hung assembly with the JD(S) likely to play the kingmaker, but were divided on which of the two national parties will emerge as the largest in the House.
The exit polls run by Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat and ABP-C Voter predicted that the BJP will emerge as the largest party by getting 95-114 and 97-109 seats respectively.
They put the Congress’ tally at 73-82 and 87-99 respectively with the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD (S) predicted to get 32-43 and 21-30 seats.
Voting for 222 of the 224 assembly seats in the state was held today. Any party will need the support of 113 MLAs to form a new government.
However, Times Now-VMR and India Today-Axis My India said the ruling Congress in the state will emerge as the largest party, forecasting 90-103 and 106-118 seats for the party. They predicted 80-93 and 79-82 seats for the BJP respectively.
If the India Today exit poll said that the Congress may get a majority, the Republic TV predicted that the saffron party may cross the half way mark.
Times Now put the likely tally of the JD(S) at 31-39 while India Today put its figure at 22-30.
News X predicted 102-110, 72-78 and 35-39 seats for the BJP, Congress and JD(S) respectively.
India Today predicted the vote share of the Congress and the BJP at 39 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. The respective prediction by Republic TV for the two parties was 36 and 38.25 per cent.
The channels were, however, revising the figures as more data was pouring in this evening.
The Congress had won 122 seats last time following a split in the BJP, which was reduced to 40 seats while the JD(S) also got 40 seats.
Both the BJP and the Congress ran a spirited campaign in the state with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the saffron charge with 21 rallies, while Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led the Congress’ bid to ensure that it defies anti-incumbency to retain power. The BJP has declared B S Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) said that 70 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the high-stakes Karnataka Assembly polls today.
The last Assembly election in the southern state in 2013 had witnessed 71.4 per cent polling, the poll panel said.
“I want to congratulate the voters of Karnataka. Till 6 pm, the voter turnout in the state was 70 per cent. Barring a few polling stations, voting has been completed at almost all,” Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here.
“By the time we get the final figure, we will have a better turnout than the last election,” he added.
The poll percentage is likely to go up as voters were seen standing in the queue at certain polling stations even after 6 pm.
The rural voters outnumbered their urban counterparts in exercising their franchise.
Voting was held in 222 of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka, in a three-cornered contest involving the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s JD(S).
Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray — more than 2400 men and over 200 women.
Of the 5,06,90,538 eligible voters, 2,56,75,579 are men, 2,50,09,904 women and 5,055 transgenders.
Officials said 58,008 polling stations were set up across the state, of which 12,002 were designated as “critical”.
Over 3,50,000 polling personnel were deployed.
As many as 82,157 security personnel, including home guards, civil defense volunteers and forest guards were pressed into service, Sinha said.
The southern state had witnessed an all-time high seizure, including a huge amount of cash, in the run-up to the polls.
“The total value of the seizure was Rs 186 crore, of which cash amounted to Rs 94.66 crore, besides liquor Rs 24.78 crore,” Sinha said.
“Other items, including sarees and other consumable products, worth Rs 66 crore, were also confiscated. The seizures are worth eight times more than what it was during the last Karnataka Assembly election. In the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh polls, the seizures were worth Rs 150 crore,” he added.
The counting of votes will take place on May 15.