Bengaluru, May 13 (IANS): The process of counting of votes was underway in Karnataka on Saturday. The strong rooms were opened at 7 a.m., and the officials began counting from 8 a.m. amid elaborate security arrangements.
The counting was taking place in 36 centres at district headquarters.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai visited the Hanuman temple and offered prayers before the counting process began in Hubballi.
The authorities have clamped curfew orders in the capital city Bengaluru and communally sensitive Dakshina Kannada district to avoid untoward incidents and maintain law and order situation.
The election results are crucial for the national political parties BJP, Congress and also for JD(S). The elections are dubbed as the semi-finals and set the tone for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held in 2024. The exit polls have predicted that the Congress party would emerge as the single largest party and also indicated a hung Assembly.
The JD(S) has already sent feelers for the national parties and sources claimed that the national parties have also reached out to the JD(S) leaders. The intense competition and campaigning for the seat of power in Karnataka by Congress, BJP and JD(S) has raised the curiosity all over the country over results.
BJP is still claiming that it would attain a majority as per its reports from booth level workers and wants to create history as no party has returned to power in the state since 1985 in Karnataka. Congress is brimming with confidence and Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar has announced that the party would comfortably win 141 seats. The JD(S) is hoping to win 30 to 40 seats. The magic number is 113 in the 224-member state legislature.
The intense competition has led to the possibility of horse-trading and national parties are said to be readying for poaching MLA's from the rival camps, according to sources. The BJP is ready for 'Operation Lotus', while Congress is also ready to go for a 'reverse operation'. JD(S) is busy keeping its flock together and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda is personally keeping in touch with candidates.
Statement by Minister for Revenue R. Ashoka that no matter how many seats BJP will win, it will form the government and MLC Lakhan Jarkiholi, brother of former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi that 20 elected candidates from Congress will resign have stirred controversy and led to many speculations.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are hoping to make it to the Karnataka legislature for the first time.
The fate of 2,163 candidates seeking election who are in fray is sealed in the ballot boxes.
Among 2,613 candidates, 2,427 are men and 185 are women. One candidate is in the other category.