Voters' verdict in Karnataka: Congress takes a major lead against BJP...What we know so far?

The election results for the recently-held assembly polls in Karnataka are making national headlines as the entire country is waiting with the bated breath to know the winner of the tight political race between BJP and Congress. Karnataka went to the single-phase voting on May 10 to elect a new assembly that has 224 seats. The counting of votes have begun in the morning hours of Saturday - May 13 and as the counting progresses, the voters verdict is in sight. 

In the 224-seated assembly, whichever party gets 113 MLAs, it would form a new government. Throughout this poll season in Karnataka, most of the opinion polls and exit polls have predicted that Congress party will triumph the election with a clear majority. With no surprise, it is visible in the current trend that Congress is culminating towards taking the power as the early numbers from the voting counting show that Congress is in a winning streak. 

For both the BJP and Congress, Karnataka is a gateway to South as it is the only state in South India where both the rivals contest against each other. Moreover, coming to power in Karnataka for both the parties would be crucial to expand the bases across South India. This would be a major reason why both the parties had held extensive campaigns in Karnataka with several tours and roadshows from the political bigshots. 

The final results will be announced on Saturday evening but the initial trend shows that the Congress party is pacing good to hit the magical number of 113. By the time of writing this content, Congress party has taken a major lead against BJP as it leads in 120 seats while the saffron camp leads in 73 seats. Another contender in the race, Janata Dal Secular -JD(SJ) leads in 28 seats. The reports say that the trend would less likely have a major turn as Congress would win the race as the single largest party. 

The debacle would be a big blow to the BJP, particularly for Prime Minister Modi who had held a heated political campaign on road, on stage, and online. For the BJP, which won the recent elections in Gujarat and in Northeastern states, the defeat would Karnataka would be disastrous as it would lose the only ruling state in South India, at a high time ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, it would be a big boost to Congress, particularly for new Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a native of Karnataka. 

Several seats are witnessing a neck and neck battle with a handful of star candidates are finding it hard to take a lead. According to reports, while BJP chief ministerial candidate Basavaraj Bommai leads in his constituency, about eight BJP ministers are fighting a losing battle. Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who quit BJP and joined Congress ahead of the polls, has been trailing in the Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency. 

While BJP is trailing in veteran leader Yediyurappa's home district of Shivamogga, the prominent Congress leaders DK Shivakumar and Siddharamaiah have been leading in their seats with Siddharamaiah's son demanding that his father should be made the new Chief Minister as the Congress is on the winning streak. The Congress cadres in Karnataka and across the country are celebrating the voters' verdict by distributing sweets and bursting crackers, while the BJP offices in Karnataka are largerly desserted.