Hit by the exit of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and the image of corruption during its tenure in the first government in the south.
The party has won three seats and leading in just 36 seats in the 224-member Assembly. JD(S) and BJP were involved in a close race to wrest the main opposition status.
Riding the anti-incumbency wave, Congress wrested its old southern fort by putting up an impressive show and touched the half-way mark of 113. The party has won 14 seats and was leading in 99.
The JD(S) led by H D Deve Gowda won three seats and was ahead in 42 seats.
The SP is leading on one seat while 'Others' have won five seats and leading in 18.
The fledgling Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) floated by Yeddyurappa, who achieved his immediate task of damaging BJP, won one seat and could establish leads in only eight seats. Yeddyurappa won from Shikaripura by over 15,000 votes.
In the elections five years ago when BJP stormed to power for the first time in a southern state on its own, the party had won 110 seats against Congress' 80 and JD(S) 28.
In the 224-member house, 113 seats would be required for majority. Polling was held in 223 segments, with the one in Periyapatna in Mysore district put off to May 28 following death of BJP candidate.
Significantly, KJP has damaged the prospects of the BJP in many constituencies, eating into its votes.