By Elton Gomes
As the BJP looks to gain a stronghold over India by winning in Karnataka, the assembly elections in the state could decide the fate of the Congress party and its new president Rahul Gandhi. The Karnataka elections will act as a testing ground for Rahul Gandhi, as he looks to revive the ageing Congress party. In the 224-member Karnataka assembly, a party needs 113 seats for a majority win, and exit polls have predicted a hung assembly.
Here’s what happened
Voting began at 7 am in 222 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka. A low voter turnout was recorded in Bengaluru, with only 36% of votes been polled. Till about 3 pm, approximately 53% voter turnout was reported in the single-phase Karnataka elections, as per poll officials. The Karnataka elections witnessed voting in a moderate note, but momentum gathered in the afternoon, as the voting deadline approached, Business Line reported.
News agency ANI reported that till 11 am total the voter turnout was 24%. Complaints of faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported in some booths, and voters were told to wait. The Indian Express reported in its live blog that till 1 pm, a 37% voter turnout was recorded. The highest polling was witnessed in Dakshina Kannada district, at 47% till 1 pm. The Bengaluru (Urban) constituency witnessed only a 28% voter turnout till 1 pm. ANI reported that by 3 pm, the voter turnout was 56%.
The Indian Express reported that seeing less than 40% voter turnout by 1 pm, several food joints offered freebies and discounts to encourage voter turnout. Locals at Kalaburagi claim that soaring temperatures could be a reason for low voter turnout. However, the Congress party expressed satisfaction over the voter turnout.
Good turnout being reported from across the state as people line up to vote for a Congress Government.
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) May 12, 2018
ANI reported that till 5 pm, voter turnout was 61.25%. The Indian Express reported that “till 5 pm, Chikkaballapur and Ramanagara saw the highest voter turnout at 76 percent. Bengaluru (North) and Bengaluru (South) were the joint lowest at 47 percent.” Polling closed at 6 pm.
The Election Commission (EC) dismissed rumours that voting would continue till 6.30 pm. The EC clarified, “Polling has been peaceful so far. Voting won’t be extended and will end at 6 pm,” the Indian Express reported.
Exit polls predictions
According to NDTV‘s analysis of the exit polls, BJP will likely emerge as the largest party with 97 seats, however, short of the majority mark. The Congress might win 90 seats, while the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) might win 31.
The Economic Times reported that, as per the VMR exit polls, Congress might emerge as the largest party with 90 to 103 seats. The VMR exit polls predicted that the BJP would come in second, with 80 to 93 seats, and that the JDS and its allies might get 31 to 39 seats. The Economic Times further reported that it would be a tight race between the Congress and the BJP.
As per the Indian Express, the southern state was heading towards a hung assembly, with Congress and the BJP likely failing to win a clear majority. The newspaper also reported that most of the exit polls have predicted an extremely tight contest between the BJP and Congress. It was also predicted that the JDS might just become the kingmaker. The EC said that voter turnout was recorded at 70%, and that counting of the votes will take place on May 15.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius