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 party with the largest number of seats under its belt.
As of 10.15 am, advanced leads showed BJP was ahead in 109 seats, while the Congress and JD(S) each were ahead in 68 and 43 seats respectively.
According to the ECI website, BJP was ahead in 97 seats, while INC 51, JD(S)+ 36, while others had 2 seats.
However, the likelihood of the BJP requiring JD(S) help to form a government seems unlikely as of now.
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 pre-cursor to the general elections next year.
The BJP had previously come to power in the state in 2008 but lost to Congress in 2013.The first time the BJP came to power in Karnataka was in the 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.
However, 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 the 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.