BJP surges in Karnataka, Congress stunned

EVMs being stored in a strong room at Chikmagalur in Karnataka on Sunday. PTI

While a victory would help boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which is on a downhill journey losing state after state since Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre, defeat in Karnataka, the only big state it rules apart from Punjab, may further slowdown the momentum for the party. Any party or alliance that secures 112 seats can stake a claim to form the government. It says that the Congress is likely to get 97 seats, the BJP 87, the JD (S)+ 35, others 3 seats. Congress was single largest party with 28 seats and BJP was the second largest party with 21 seats.

"In a hung assembly, if majority of the elected MLAs form a coalition, the Governor would be constitutionally right in inviting the leader of the majority coalition to form the government and prove their majority within a short period", Finance Minister and constitutional expert Arun Jaitley had tweeted at the time.

He pointed out that earlier professionals and experts used to conduct exit polls but these days, exit polls are being conducted under the influence of the ideology of the owners of TV channels. Most exit polls have predicted that former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda led-Janata Dal (Secular) will emerge as the be a kingmaker should there will be a hung assembly. None of the parties got the magic number of 21. The turnout was the highest-ever in Karnataka since the 1952 Assembly elections, he said.

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CM Siddaramaiah had on Sunday said he is open to making way for a Dalit chief minister if the Congress high command decides so, hinting that the Congress was seeking an alliance with the HD Deve Gowda-led party.

In a similar incident, the Income Tax (IT) Department conducted raids at a resort in Badami on May 8, where the Congress leaders had been lodging for campaigning purposes. The India Today-Axis exit poll said the Congress would be the single largest party. "Every Congressman or (party) activist I have met in Karnataka has no doubt that we will be the single largest party". It said that JD (S) will win 30-39 seats and others 2-4 seats. There are 19 seats in coastal Karnataka and the BJP had performed badly in this region in 2013.

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