Bengaluru, May 15: The results of Karnataka assembly elections 2018, one of the bitterly fought electoral battles in recent times, will be declared today. The Election Commission of India is scheduled to begin the counting of votes at 8 am. The early trends are expected to follow thereafter. Although the official results would be declared later in the day, the trends in the first couple of hours would reveal whether Karnataka has reposed faith in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress, or paved the way for BS Yeddyurappa to ride back to power on a Modi-Shah-led BJP wave. The Janata Dal (Secular), on the other hand, was predicted by most exit polls to play the role of kingmaker. Stay tuned here for all the live updates, trends, news and results emerging from the counting centres.
Voting for the Karnataka assembly polls was held in 222 of the 224 legislative constituencies. The two seats where voting was deferred are Jayanagar, where the death of BJP candidate led to the cancellation of polls and Rajarajeshwari (RR) Nagar, where the seizure of over 9,000 fake voter ID cards forced the Election Commission to countermand the polls.
Karnataka Election Results: Will Congress halt the Modi-Shah juggernaut?
Post the BJP's victory in 2014 general elections, the party has been claiming one state after another, leaving Congress with only four states, including the minor Puducherry and Mizoram. A defeat in Karnataka would further dent the Congress' stature as a national party as it would be left with only Punjab as a major state to be ruled.
Predicting the dismal performance of the Rahul Gandhi-led party, PM Modi in a poll rally in Dharwad had said, "Very soon, this Congress will be PPP Congress." By 'PPP' he referred to Punjab-Puducherry-Parivar (family).
On the other hand, a victory for the Congress would shift the momentum in favour of the grand-old party, ahead of the upcoming Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assembly elections later this year.
Speaking at a poll rally in Hubli, Rahul Gandhi had said, "I don't make overstatements. Mark my words: The BJP will be defeated in Karnataka. They will be defeated in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Then, they will be defeated in 2019."
What exit polls had predicted the outcome of Karnataka elections 2018?
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Majority among the post-election surveys hinted towards a fractured mandate, with no party crossing the half-way mark of 112. Two among the six major surveys predicted a slim majority for the BJP, whereas, one exit poll predicted the Congress to retain power.