MUMBAI: BJP's estranged NDA ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday dared the former to contest just one election using ballot papers and not with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) so that all apprehensions about the saffron party's invincibility will go away.
''Just one time, I want BJP to head into elections with ballot papers and not EVMs. All the apprehensions will go away,'' Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief, said while reacting to the results of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018. While the BJP and its supporters are jubilant over the party's emphatic victory in Karnataka, the ruling Congress today conceded its defeat in what was billed as a precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After several rounds of vote counting on Tuesday, the results showed that the BJP, riding high on the Narendra Modi wave and led by its chief Amit Shah, looked set to make a comeback in the southern state.
The BJP was leading in as many as 107 seats when the results last came in, while Congress was ahead in 72. HD Deve Gowda -led Janata Dal (Secular) was leading on 41 seats.
Out of 225 Karnataka Assembly segments, 222 went to the polls on May 12. The election in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar seat was delayed to May 28 due to the recovery of a large number of voter ID cards. The election in Jayanagar segment was countermanded in the wake of the demise of BJP candidate BN Vijaya Kumar on May 4. The Karnataka election results 2018 are significant for the ruling Congress as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is hoping to make a comeback in this southern state. Several exit polls have earlier predicted a hung Assembly with no major political party seem to be gaining a clear majority in the state. In such a scenario, HD Deve Gowda's JD(S) is likely to emerge as a kingmaker since its support would be crucial in government formation in Karnataka.
At present, the majority mark is 112 as results will be declared for only 222 seats. While Karnataka Assembly has 225 seats, voting takes place for 224 constituencies as one is a nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community.
A total of 2,655 candidates are in the fray for the 224 seats in Karnataka Assembly. Among the candidates are four sitting and former chief ministers - the current CM Siddaramaiah, former BJP chief ministers BS Yeddyurappa and Jagdish Shettar, and JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy. There are 219 women, too, among the aspirants. While the BJP is contesting in all 224 seats, the Congress put up candidates in 222 and the JDS in 201 seats.
According to the state Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar 72.13 percent voters came out to exercise their franchise which is the highest in the Karnataka Assembly elections since the 1952 state polls.
Karnataka witnessed a high-decibel campaign with big names like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi leading the battle for the BJP and the Congress respectively. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is facing a tough battle to ensure Congress returns to power. Even history is against him as no party has been able to win two consecutive Karnataka Assembly elections since the Janata Dal's victory in 1983 and 1985. Siddaramaiah on Sunday sounded confident of Congress retaining power and added that this was his last election. He contested from two seats - Chamundeshwari and Badami.