Like several exit polls surveys predicted, it seems to be the return of the lotus in Karnataka. As results continue to flow in, the BJP has emerged as the single largest party with the largest number of seats under its belt. As of 2 pm, the party had bagged 105 seats in the state.
In the meantime, the Congress and JD(S)+ each were ahead in 77 and 39 seats respectively.
Early in May, BJP National President Amit Shah emphasized on the importance of the party's win in Karnataka’s elections: “Winning Karnataka elections is very important to us, as it is our doorway to the south of India."
The election is Karnataka is widely being viewed as a precursor to the general elections next year. For the Congress, Karnataka was one of the last states in the country where it held power – the other states being Punjab, Mizoram. The party is also in power in the Union Territory of Puducherry. The BJP meanwhile, which is in power in 21 other states across the country, has now made a comeback into the southern state.
In a sign of how bad things are for the Congress in this election, incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has lost from Chamundeshwari, and is embroiled in a neck-and-neck fight with BJP's Sriramulu in Badami, where he is trailing.
The BJP had previously come to power in the state in 2008 but lost to Congress in 2013. The first time BJP came to power in the state was in 2008 elections, winning 110 seats. Although the party fell short of a clear majority, it managed to form the government with the support of independent candidates.
The indications before the poll results had suggested a hung Assembly. The last time Karnataka had a hung Assembly was in 2004 when none of the parties were able to get a majority on their own. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 79 seats. However, the Congress party with 65 seats formed a coalition government with the JD(S) which had 58 seats. Dharam Singh became the Chief Minister of the state in its first ever coalition government.
In the previous Assembly election in 2013, Congress got a clear majority with 122 seats. The BJP – which saw a split, with Yeddyurappa breaking away to form the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) – only got 40 seats. The KJP meanwhile managed to take away a large part of BJP’s vote share, however they managed to win only 6 seats. The JD(S) meanwhile got 40 seats as well.
While the BJP had a vote share of 20.07% in 2013, the KJP managed to corner 10.82% of the vote share. Congress meanwhile had 36.76%, and JD(S) had 20.45% of the vote share.
In early 2006, the JD(S) withdrew support and formed an alliance with the BJP and HD Kumaraswamy became the Chief Minister. But the alliance collapsed in October 2007 after Kumaraswamy refused to hand over the Chief Minister's chair to BJP's Yeddyurappa as agreed. While there was an attempt to patch up in November that year, the two parties could not come to an agreement about power sharing. Eventually, the state came under President's rule and new elections were called for.
This copy was updated and the headline was changed as trends changed in the counting of the Karnataka polls.