An estimated 61.3 per cent of the total 1.18 crore voters exercised their franchise in the third and the final phase of the elections in northern Karnataka region comprising eight districts in the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnatak region.
Exit polls by Bangalore-based psephology expert Creative Centre for Political Studies said the BJP would emerge the single largest party with 102 seats while the Congress would finish second with 83 seats and the JD(S) would get 35.
Private television channel NDTV predicted the BJP would win a comfortable majority. CNN-IBN gave the Congress 35 per cent of the vote share in the Assembly elections, the BJP 30 per cent of the vote and JD(S) 21 per cent. The smaller parties got 14 per cent. Overall the channel predicts that the Congress would be marginally ahead with 86 seats, the BJP would have 79 and the JD(S) would retain its vote share with 45 seats, leaving 14 to the other smaller parties. It also said the Congress and the BJP had lost their momentum and the results were identical to 2004.
Congress leader and possible chief ministerial candidate Mallikarjun Kharge dismissed the proposition that Karnataka was headed for a hung Assembly. The man who could be Karnataka’s first dalit chief minister said the Congress would have to ally with another party to form a government.