Voters in Karnataka have given their mandate and most exit polls today indicated that it may be a fractured one with Janata Dal (Secular) emerging as the kingmaker.
At least four out of five exit poll surveys showed the Bharatiya Janata Party in pole position but short of a full majority of 113 seats in the 224-member assembly. Of the five exit polls BloombergQuint looked at, four – Times Now-VMR, NewsX - CNX, ABP News-CVoter and Republic - Jan Ki Baat – showed BJP in the lead. Only India Today - Axis My India predicts that the Congress will remain in power in Karnataka, with a seat share of 106 and 118.
However, these are only indicative numbers and counting of votes will take place on May 15. While the rest of the country has been slowly swept away by the saffron wave, Karnataka remains important for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP. The results will be an early indicator of the people’s sentiment ahead of the general election next year.
Polling was held in 222 constituencies of the 224-member assembly as elections in two constituencies were been countermanded – in Jayanagara, following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar – and in Rajrajeshwari Nagar after thousands of voter cards were seized from a flat in the area.
The results of the exit polls have predicted a closer fight than either the BJP or the Congress would be comfortable with. The average of the top five exit polls shows a difference of ten seats between the two national parties. If the results on May 15 are in line with most polls, the JD(S) led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda would emerge as the kingmaker.
Senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad disagreed with the results. “I have travelled widely in Karnataka along with the Congress President and we got an amazing response,” he said.
The BJP is not convinced by the exit polls either despite being in the lead in most.“We expect to get full majority on our own because of the kind of campaign we have done”, said BJP leader Sudesh Verma.
Watch the full interview with BK Hariprasad of the Congress, Sudesh Verma of the BJP and Premchand Palety of the Cfore here.