According to a majority of exit polls, Karnataka is heading for a hung assembly. Seven of 10 exit polls conducted by media organisations after the recent state elections in Karnataka claim that no party will gain a clear majority. Two have predicted an outright victory for the Congress and one for the BJP.
HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal (Secular) is expected to play kingmaker in case of a hung Assembly. The regional party leader had left for Singapore after the polling booths closed. Senior JD (S) party leaders, however, have denied claims that they have already made a decision on who to support in forming the government.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am tomorrow. Karnataka registered a record voter turnout of 73.19 per cent in the polls this time.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressed confidence that the ruling BJP will retain power with an absolute majority, dismissing exit poll predictions.
Congress leader Siddaramaiah expressed gratitude to the party workers and hoped that their struggle will "definitely bear fruit", as the exit polls gave an edge to the grand old party.
The Congress and HD Kumaraswamy had partnered in 2018 to keep the BJP out of power. The alliance government had lasted a little over a year before collapsing as MLAs from both parties joined the BJP. This time, both parties have brushed off the possibility of entering an alliance.
The majority mark in the 224-seat assembly stands at 113 seats. Two exit polls - India Today-Axis My India and Times-Now ETG - have predicted the possibility of an outright Congress victory. India TV-CNX and Zee News-Matrize have given an upper limit exceeding 113 to the Congress. News Nation-CGS have predicted a BJP victory, and Suvarna News-Jan Ki Baat has predicted an upper limit of 117 for the BJP.
News Nation-CGS has predicted that the state's ruling BJP will cross the majority mark with 114 seats, the Congress will win 86 seats and the JD(S) 21.
The Suvarna News-Jan Ki Baat has also given an edge to the BJP, predicting it will emerge as the single largest party with anything between 94 and 117 seats. The Congress, it said, will get 91-106 seats and the JD(S) 14-24 seats.
Five other exit polls are counting on a Congress win or a pole position as the single largest party. India Today-Axis My India is expecting the Congress to win 122 to 140 seats and the BJP to get 62-80 seats.
Times Now-ETG is predicting the Congress will touch the majority mark - barely. It predicts the party will win 113 seats and the BJP will get 85. Twenty-three seats will go to the Janata Dal Secular, it has predicted.
ABP News-C Voter are expecting the BJP to win 83-95 seats and the Congress 100 to 112 seats. The JD(S), it expects, will win between 21 and 29 seats.