BJP leads and Cong-JD(S) trails in Karnataka

Indian election officials put up a banner announcing the list of constituencies at the counting centre on the eve of the vote counting day for India's general election in Bangalore. (Photo by AFP)

The BJP in Karnataka is surging way ahead of its rivals as it was leading in 20 constituencies with trends available for 26 out of the 28 seats, the Election Commission said. Ruling coalition partners, the Congress and JDS, which had fought the polls together, were leading in three seats each.

Veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who has never tasted electoral defeat, was trailing in Gulbarga by a margin of 5,754 against Umesh Jadhav of BJP.

Former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda was leading against BJP's Basavaraj by a wafer-thin margin of 65 votes in Tumkur. Gowda's grandsons Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, and Prajwal Revanna were leading in Mandya and Hassan respectively. Nikhil had established a slender margin of 1509 votes in Mandya against independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh supported by the BJP.

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Prajwal was leading in Hassan against BJP's A Manju by 28565 votes. Among BJP's candidates who are leading are P C Mohan from Bangalore Central, Tejavi Surya from Bangalore South, Bhagwanth Khuba from Bidar, Ramesh Jigajinagi (Bijapur), Srinivas Prasad (Chamarajanagar), Bachche Gowda (Chikkaballapur), A Narayanaswamy (Chitradurga), Nalin Kumar Kateel (Dakshina Kannada) and G M Siddeshwar (Davangere). Other BJP candidates leading were Prahlad Joshi in Dharwad, C S Udasi from Haveri, Muniswamy (Kolar), Karadi Snaganna (Koppal), B Y Raghavendra, son of state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, from Shimoga and Ananth Kumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada).

Congress candidates who were leading include Krishna Byre Gowda against Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore North, D K Suresh in Bangalore Rural and C S Vijayashankar in Mysore.

Counting of votes is underway for 28 Lok Sabha constituencies that went for polls in Karnataka in two phases, the results of which is likely to have its bearing on the stability of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Counting of votes began at 8 am in 28 counting centres across the state, poll officials said. While the highest voting percentage was recorded in Mandya Parliamentary constituency (80.23 per cent), the lowest voting percentage was recorded in Bangalore South (53.47 per cent).

State Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar had earlier said the first set of results may start from 3 PM and may be over by 6 PM. However, it can delay further too.

"Generally, results would start from 12 noon, but because four hours additional time will be required (for VVPAT counting), maybe from 3 PM onwards, we expect our results between 3 PM to 6 PM," Kumar had said.

Karnataka went for polling in two phases of 14 constituencies each on April 18 and 23, from where a total of 461 candidates had contested. Prominent contestants in the first phase were former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (Tumkur), his grandsons Prajwal Revanna and Nikhil Kumaraswamy from Hassan and Mandya, as also Union Minister Sadananda Gowda (Bangalore North) and senior Congress leaders Verappa Moily(Chikkaballapura) and Sumalatha Ambareesh (Mandya).

As the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka led by H D Kumaraswamy completes one year Thursday, the ruling coalition is on the edge with the Lok Sabha results widely expected to have a bearing on its stability.

Though coalition leaders decided to jointly fight the LS polls and reached a seat-sharing agreement of 21 and seven seats for Congress and JD(S), it was not something grassroots level workers of both parties were okay with, especially in old Mysuru region, where they are arch rivals.

BJP had contested 27 of 28 seats and supporting independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh in Mandya. Of 28 constituencies that went to the polls, BJP had won 17, Congress in 9 and JD(S) in two in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The results of by-polls for Chincholi, necessitated by the resignation of Umesh Jadhav, who quit Congress and joined BJP to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Gulbarga, and Kundgol, that fell vacant following the death of Minister C S Shivalli, will also be declared Thursday. 

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