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BJP vs Congress-JD(S): Karnataka's fate now in Governor's hands; highlights

As the fate of politics in Karnataka hangs in balance, the key lies in the fact as to who Governor invites to formally form the government first

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Karnataka election result 2018, BJP
BJP workers celebrate with crackers the party's decisive lead in Karnataka Assembly elections, as the counting of votes is in progress, outside the party headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday

As counting for Karnataka Assembly polls has ended, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 103 seats and is leading is one, emerging as the single largest party. The party stood on the second position with 78 seats, while former prime minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) party bagged 37 seats. Apart from this, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and independents won one seat each. The Karnataka Assembly election results threw up an unexpected suspense today, as a simple majority tantalisingly eluded BJP and the quickly proclaimed support to third-placed JD(S) to keep the saffron party out of power. As the results of the poll in the state have left Karnataka Assembly in hung, the final decision will be taken by Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala. All eyes are now on Governor Vajubhai Vala who will have to decide whether to call BJP, the single largest winner of seats, to try to form the government or go with the JD(S)-combine, which together have a clear majority in the 224-member Assembly. Elections were held for 222 seats on May 12. Both sides rushed to meet Vala, their vehicles slowly cutting through the throngs of party workers and supporters assembled outside the Raj Bhavan gates, and staked claim to power. Elections in Karnataka were held at 222 out of 224 seats, on May 12. A party or an alliance needs 112 seats to form the government in Karnataka.

Karnataka election result 2018 highlights: * Siddaramaiah wins Badami assembly seat, but loses in Chamundeshwari. * wins Shikaripura seat by a margin of over 35,000 votes. * Kumaraswamy wins both Ramanagara and Channapatna seats.
A record 72.36 per cent of the 50.7 million (5.07 crore) electorate cast their votes, with 27,908 electors in defence services exercising their franchise through postal ballots. The Election Commission has deployed 16,662 personnel for counting of votes amid tight security. "Postal ballots will be counted first before the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are opened," Kumar said. Meanwhile, four of the seven polling agencies predicted in their exit polls that the BJP would emerge as the single-largest party today. While most exit polls predicted a hung Assembly with the BJP ahead, two said the BJP would either come very close to or cross the halfway mark of 112 seats, while the India Today-Axis exit poll said the Congress might bag a majority. All exit polls gave the H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) nearly two dozen seats or more, which could make it the kingmaker if there is a hung Assembly.

Top 10 developments on Karnataka election 2018 results: 1. How expressions changed at BJP headquarters with Karnataka swings: BJP leaders slammed the Congress for running a toxic and negative campaign and said the people of Karnataka had chosen the BJP's development agenda over the Congress's divisive agenda.

Karnataka election result 2018 Cut-outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah are seen at the party headquarters in New Delhi, on Tuesday

But the whole scenario changed in the afternoon as TV screens showed the party's count dropping and that of the Congress increasing. With the BJP numbers coming down to 105 from 120, the drum beats and celebrations stopped and the union ministers as well as the party's national spokespersons left the headquarters.

The smiles on the faces of party workers also dimmed but they drew satisfaction from the BJP emerging as the single-largest party with 104 seats.

The smiles again returned to the party office after Narendra Modi and Amit Shah came to mark the party's performance.

2. Learning from mistakes, Congress acted swiftly to be in race for power in Karnataka: Learning from past mistakes, the Congress today moved swiftly to remain in the game as it extended support to JD(S) to form a government in Karnataka after the BJP failed to get a simple majority.

The move is seen as an attempt by the beleaguered party to save yet another state from slipping out of its kitty. The Congress currently rules Punjab, Mizoram and Puducherry. Today's step will also help provide a major boost to the "sagging morale" of the Congress ahead of state assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the party sees an opportunity to upstage the BJP, and 2019 general elections. Unlike in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, where the Congress failed to form its government despite securing the highest seats, it forged a quick post-poll alliance with the JD-S in Karnataka and staked claim to government formation. Sensing a clear opportunity, the Congress leadership took a quick call to let go of the post of chief minister, which it offered to JD-S that lapped it up immediately. Sources said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi discussed the issue with Sonia Gandhi and decided to play out the card of offering chief ministership to HD Kumaraswamy, the son of JD-S supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

3. AAP draws a blank in Karnataka polls: AAP candidates forfeited deposit in all 29 seats the party contested in Karnataka, giving yet another jolt to its attempts to spread its wings outside Delhi and Punjab.

Prithvi Reddy, AAP's Karnataka convenor, who took on Congress heavyweight K J George from the Sarvagnanagar Assembly constituency, could barely manage 1,861 votes coming a distant fourth. "We were washed out but I cannot understand why. We got a lot of support but that could not be converted into votes," said Reddy, who had resorted to door-to-door campaign, usually undertaken by the party citing lack of resources. Of the 29 seats, the party had contested 18 in Bengaluru and 11 in the other parts of the state.

4. Narendra Modi, Amit Shah address party workers at BJP headquarters in Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah expressed confidence that BJP would surely come to power in Karnataka. He said, "This is the 15th election. BJP has already won the last 14 elections. This is the 15th consecutive election where BJP is going to win."

He further added, "In 2019 we will not only form the govt under the leadership of Modi Ji but also form a New India in 2022." Slamming Congress, Amit Shah said, "I don't know by which analysis is Congress happy. They have lost the elections. Their sitting chief minister could hardly retain the safe seat and lost badly from his traditional seat, if this is not a loss I don't know what is," Shah said, according to Firstpost. Modi started off his speech by condoling the loss of lives in Varanasi bridge collapse. Further, he congratulated BJP workers' victory in Karnataka. He further attacked the Congress party and said it is trying to come to power in the state by forming an alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular), despite facing rejection. The Prime Minister further said that by rejecting the mandate of the people, the party is hurting India's Constitution for its political interests. "No one could have imagined that in this election, Congress would do an act to hurt India's Constitution only for its political interests," he said. The Prime Minister also said that the Karnataka elections are proof that the BJP is not a party for only Hindi speaking states. "They said the BJP is a party of Hindi speaking states. Are Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, the northeastern states of Hindi speaking states? No, BJP represents India and our proud diversity," Prime Minister Modi said. ALSO READ: Post-assembly verdict, BJP legislature party to meet tomorrow 5) Party wise trends and result: According to official Election Commission figures as of 10:23 pm, the BJP was leading in 1 seat and had won 103 seats, the Congress was leading in none and had won 78, the Janata Dal (Secular) had won 37 seats and was leading in none. The Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party had won one seat, the Bahujan Samaj Party won one seat, and the independents had won one seat. Karnataka election result 2018 Karnataka polls seat tally. Source: EC Why victory in Karnataka election is crucial for BJP: A BJP win would bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah a step closer to achieving their dream of a 'Congress-mukt' India. The BJP's victory in Karnataka would also open for it "the gateway to southern India".

Currently, the BJP doesn't have a government in any of the five southern states. The win is also important for the BJP in the context of 2019. Amit Shah said, "Karnataka is the gateway to BJP's entry into the Southern states of India." ALSO READ: Karnataka poll: 4 of 7 exit polls bet on BJP; counting of votes on May 15 Why victory is so important for Congress party: A win for the Congress would boost the party's morale for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram in November-December, and for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It would also ensure that the party would not be reduced to ruling only one big state, that of Punjab, in the entire country. ALSO READ: Karnataka election result LIVE updates 6. Yeddyurappa meets governor, stakes claim to form government: Karnataka BJP chief B S today met Governor Vajubhai Vala and staked claim to form the government, countering a move of the Congress-JDS combine which he slammed as an attempt to come back to power through the back door. "BJP has emerged as the single largest party, we have requested the governor to give us an opportunity to prove our majority on the floor of the assembly," told reporters after meeting Vala along with Union minister Ananth Kumar. Not willing to comment on JD(S)-Congress alliance, he said "....we have staked claim to form the government. We have said we will prove our majority in the assembly, give us an opportunity." The move by Yeddyurappa came soon after JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy wrote to the governor informing him about his decision to accept the Congress' support extended to his party to form the government. 7. Ten Karnataka ministers bite the dust in polls: At least 10 ministers fell by the wayside as they lost their seats in an anti-incumbency wave that swept the Siddaramaiah government out of power in the assembly polls. Siddaramaiah himself lost by a huge margin of 36,042 votes in his traditional constituency of Chamundeshwari in Mysuru to JDS' G T Deve Gowda. He, however, managed to scrape through in Badami in north Karnataka, where he won by a slender margin of 1,696 votes after a see-saw battle against BJP's B Sriramulu, a close associate of the mining baron Reddy brothers. Siddaramaiah's close aide H C Mahadevappa (55,451 votes) lost to JDS M Ashwin Kumar (83,929 votes) in T Narsipura. Ramanath Rai (81,831 votes) was defeated by BJP's U Rajesh Naik (97,802 votes) in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district. In Holalkere, H Anjaneya (69,036 votes) lost to BJP's M Chandrappa (1,07,976 votes). Dr Sharan Prakash Rudrappa Patil (73,468 votes) lost to BJP's Rajkumar Patil (80,668 votes) in Sedam. SS Mallikarjun (72,469 votes) was defeated by BJP's S A Ravindranath (76,540 votes) in Davanagere. Octogenerian and the oldest candidate to contest, Kagodu Thimappa (70,436 votes) lost to BJP's H Halappa Harathalu (78,475 votes) in Sagara. Basavaraj Rayareddi (65,754 votes) lost to BJP's Char Halappa Basappa (79,072 votes) in Yelburga while Rudrappa Lamani (75,261 votes) conceded his seat to BJP's Neharu Olekar (86,565 votes) in Haveri. Pramod Mdhwaraj (72,902 votes) was defeated by BJP's Raghupathi Bhat (84,946 votes) in Udupi. 8. Congress cites precedents to justify its Karnataka move: The Congress today said the BJP's claim to form a government in Karnataka is demolished by three precedents in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya. Justifying its move to stake claim along with the JDS to form the government, Congress communications in charge Randeep Surjewala said his party had acted as per constitutional norms and traditions. He also cited the instance of BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was invited to form a government by the then president KR Narayanan, noting the guiding principle behind it was that a party or a combination of parties that has won the largest number of seats be invited. "As Congress-JD(S) win 95 seats and lead in 20 seats, absolute majority for the coalition is clear. Coalition also has 56% vote share. Coalition leaders meeting the Governor shortly to stake claim as per established constitutional norms in Karnataka's interests," he tweeted.

9. Siddaramaiah submits resignation to Governor: Incumbent Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday submitted his resignation to the state Governor Vajubhai Vala ahead of final declaration of Karnataka assembly result. Siddaramaiah suffered a defeat in Chamundeshwari constituency against his JD(S) rival G T Deve Gowda. While in Badami, Siddaramaiah ha defeated his BJP rival B Sreeramulu by over 1,600 votes. Earlier in the day, the Congress has announced to support the Janata Dal (Secular) to form the next government in Karnataka. "Both Congress and JD (S) leadership will meet the Governor in the evening to stake claim to form the government and we will give letters of support," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said while addressing the media. This new political development has emerged after the numbers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started to drop from 115, which was a majority number. 10. JD(S) accepts Congress' support to form govt, Kumaraswamy seeks time from Governor: Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy today wrote to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala informing him about his decision to accept the Congress' support to form the government. In a dramatic twist, the Congress today offered support to JD(S) to form the government after the BJP, which was emerging as the single largest party, appeared to be falling short of majority. In a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, Kumaraswamy, whose party was a distant third after the BJP and Congress, sought an appointment for this evening. "This is to submit to your good self that I have accepted the support extended by the (I) party for forming the Government. In this regard, I seek your appointment today evening between 5.30 pm to 6.00 pm," Kumaraswamy said in a letter, copy of which was released to the media. Congress trying to subvert people's mandate, alleges Yeddyurappa: BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa today accused the Congress of trying to subvert the popular mandate and come back to power through the back door by offering support to JDS to form the government. Yeddyurappa said the people of the state had rejected the Siddaramaiah government "lock, stock and barrel" and given a mandate for change. "The people had given a mandate for a Congress-mukt Karnataka," the BJP strongman told reporters shortly after the Congress offered support to JDS-led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. Yeddyurappa said there was anti-incumbency against the Siddaramaiah government and the chief minister himself had suffered a "pathetic defeat" in his home constituency of Chamundeshwari.

10. BJP rushes 3 senior ministers to Karnataka as Congress appears to steal march: With the BJP appearing to be falling short of a majority in Karnataka, the party rushed three senior ministers to the state to talk with possible allies to cobble up the required numbers for forming the next government in the state.

Union minsters Dharmendra Pradhan, Prakash Javadekar and J P Nadda met BJP chief Amit Shah this afternoon and later left for Bengaluru.

People rejected Congress' divisive politics, says BJP: With the BJP set to emerge as the single largest party in Karnataka, its leaders described today's Assembly poll results as an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda and claimed that the people had rejected the divisive, toxic and negative politics of the Congress.

Buoyed by the emerging picture, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying someone was dreaming of becoming the prime minister, a reference to Gandhi's statement during the Karnataka poll campaign that he was ready for the top post if his party won the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Prasad's cabinet colleague, Nirmala Sitharaman, said it was a historic day for the BJP and the results were an endorsement of Modi's development agenda.

The people had rejected the divisive, toxic and negative politics of the Congress, she added.

What Karnataka election means to JD(S): It is a battle for survival for JD(S). While BJP and Congress have fought hard against each other, exit polls indicate that JD(S) could be the kingmaker if there is a hung Assembly. The JD(S) had formed an alliance with the Congress in 2015 to keep the BJP out of Bengaluru's civic body. The party also has an alliance with the BJP in the Karnataka legislative council. Considering that in 2004, the Congress had formed a government with the support of JD(S), which later withdrew support in favour of the BJP, the JD(S) has no qualms about sticking to either the Congress or the BJP if the other side makes a more attractive offer.
What exit polls have predicted: The India Today-Axis My India exit poll has predicted that Congress is likely to win 106-118 seats with 39 per cent vote share and will be the single-largest party in Karnataka. The Chanakya exit polls indicate a clear victory for BJP (120 seats), followed by Congress with 73 seats and JD(S) with 26 seats. The India TV-VMR exit poll has predicted a hung Assembly in Karnataka. It says that the Congress is likely to get 97 seats, the BJP 87, the JD(S)+ 35, and others 3 seats. The ABP C-Voter exit poll has predicted 101-113 seats for the BJP, claiming that the saffron party is likely to reach the 'magic figure' of 113 seats. It predicts 82 to 94 seats for the Congress, while the JD(S) and others will get 18-31 seats and one to eight seats, respectively. According to the Times Now-VMR exit poll, the Congress is likely to be the single largest party with 90-103 seats, the BJP the second largest with 80-93 seats. It said that the JD(S) will win 30-39 seats and others two-four seats. NDTV's exit poll said the BJP will be the single largest party with 98 seats, the Congress second largest party with 88 seats, and the JD(S) will be the kingmaker with 33 seats. The NewsX-CNX exit poll has claimed that the BJP is set to be elected as the single largest party in the state, with close to 102-110 seats, followed by the Congress with 72-78 seats and the JDS with 35-39 seats. ALSO READ: Karnataka exit polls: No telling which way the wind blows, result on May 15 Yeddyurappa's aide flying to Delhi today to finalise swearing-in date: Though no results have been declared yet, Yeddyurappa's aide and Lok Sabha MP Shobha Karandlaje told reporters in Bengaluru that he would fly to New Delhi later in the day to finalise the date for his swearing-in after consulting the national leadership. Congress rushes top guns to Karnataka to ensure no Goa, Manipur fiasco repeat: Once bitten, twice shy! The Congress is taking no chances in Karnataka and has sent in its top guns to avoid a repeat of the Goa and Manipur fiascoes in the past, where it failed to form the government despite emerging as the largest party. The party has sent senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot to the southern state where results of the Assembly polls would be out today. The Congress has, however, been 'bitten' thrice as it failed to retain power in Meghalaya recently despite emerging as the largest party and the leadership rushing Kamal Nath and Ahmed Patel to the state to build on the advantage. Sources said Azad and Gehlot have reached Bengaluru and have met chief minister Siddharamaiah and other party leaders. They are also likely to meet JD(S) leaders, including H D Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy, in case the Congress fails to get a majority on its own.
With agency inputs

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 00:54 IST