With the Congress leading in the early trends in the counting of votes for Karnataka Assembly polls, the party has asked all its MLAs to reach Bengaluru today, sources said on Saturday.
Special arrangements have also been made in the remote areas of the State to take them to Bengaluru and observers have also been appointed to do this exercise, party sources said. As per Election Commission of India trends at 9.30 am, Congress was leading in 63 seats while BJP in 42, JD(S) in 9, Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha in 1, and Independent in 2 seats.
The exit polls which were out after voting ended on May 10 predicted a hung assembly with some showing Congress returning to power with a majority. Most of the exit polls had predicted that the BJP will fall short of the halfway mark, 113.
Congress leader and son of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Yathindra Siddaramiah on Saturday expressed confidence that Congress his party will get an absolute majority and will come to power on its own. He also said for the interest of Karnataka his father should become the chief minister.
“We will do anything to keep BJP out of power…In the interest of Karnataka, my father should become the chief minister,” Yathindra Siddaramaiah said while speaking to ANI.
Congress is expected to have a clear edge in Karnataka in the assembly elections held on Wednesday with four exit polls giving it a full majority and some predicting a hung assembly with an advantage to the party.
In such circumstances, the JD(S) can play the role of a kingmaker.
However, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that he has not been contacted as yet for the formation of the government in case of a cliffhanger, adding that he is hoping for a good show.
Speaking to the media ahead of the counting, Kumaraswamy cited the exit polls which predicted nearly 30-32 seats to JD(S) and a clear edge to the Congress party with some even predicting a majority for the grand old party and said that according to the predictions, there is no need for him to explore options.
“In the next 2-3 hours, it will become clear. Exit polls show that the two national parties will score in a big way. The polls have given 30-32 seats to JD(S). I am a small party, there is no demand for me…I am hoping for a good development,” he said.
“No one has contacted me till now. Let us see the final results first. According to the exit polls, there is no need for options. Let us see,” the JD(S) leader added.
The exit polls, which were released after the polling ended in Karnataka, predicted that Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) would not touch the 37 seats it won in the 2018 polls but will continue to be a strong regional player in the state. If Karnataka throws up a hung assembly, the JD-S could emerge in the role of kingmaker.
The fiercely contested election that saw high-pitch campaigns from the political parties is crucial for both BJP and Congress. Hectic electioneering by leaders of various political parties saw BJP allowing Union Ministers and Chief Ministers to campaign with their full force.
The Congress on the other hand worked hard to wrest power from the BJP that is striving to break the 38-year-old pattern of alternating governments and retain its power in the state.
Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, held various roadshows, rallies and elections campaigns. An incumbent government has not returned to power in Karnataka after a full term of five years since 1985.