Karnataka came out with a 20-year record turnout of 70.23 per cent polling on Sunday, indicating a decisive mandate for the next government. Bangalore Urban, however, saw the lowest voting with 52 per cent polling, while Bangalore Rural recorded the highest with 77.95 per cent.
The general trend predicted by exit polls conducted by various organisations is that the Congress will return to rule Karnataka with a “near majority” after a gap of eight years.
The actual outcome, however, will be known only after the counting of votes on Wednesday. Most exit polls conducted during the voting said the Congress would win 100-118 seats in the 224-member Assembly,. However, two prominent Kannada news channels gave the Congress 95 to 106 seats, which is less that the simple majority of 113. These results show that the voters of Karnataka, after two hung Assemblies, want a stable, single-party government. The voters also do not seem to be bothered by the Congress hara-kiri in candidate selection and the possible fight for the Chief Minister’s post.
As expected, the big loser is the ruling BJP which, according to the exit polls, would lose almost half its seats — from 110 in 2008 to 45-55 seats, now. An anti-incumbency wave combined with the exits of B S Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu, allegations of corruption, sex scandals and infighting seem to have taken a toll on the saffron party.
The H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) looks likely to improve its tally by about 4-10 seats. This will impact its desire to play a crucial role in the formation of the next government.
The BJP splinter groups — Yeddyurappa’s KJP and the BSR Congress of B Sriramulu — seem to be succeeding in their mission to defeat the BJP. But exit poll results show they do not have much to boast about. The KJP is likely to win 8-15 seats and the BSR Congress 1-2, exit polls say. Voting in the State was peaceful barring a few stray incidents of violence. In Kolar, some persons, said to be Congress supporters, were seen walking near a polling station brandishing weapons.