As the counting of votes for Karnataka Assembly elections enters its second hour, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has marked a lead on 95 seats while Congress is trailing in far second with a lead on 47 seats.
The third key player, Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) is close on the heels of Congress with a lead on 37 seats, as per the official trends by the Election Commission.
The chief ministerial candidates, BJP's BS Yeddyurappa is leading from Shikaripura seat, Congress' Siddaramaiah is leading Badami seat but trailing behind JD(S)' GT Deve Gowda in Chamudeshawari. JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy is meanwhile leading from both Ramanagara and Channapatna seats.
Counting of votes began at 8 a.m. for 221 out of 224 assembly constituencies in 58,546 polling stations in the state. The elections in two constituencies, Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar, both in Bengaluru have been postponed earlier.
A total of 2,654 candidates, including 216 women candidates were in the fray for the Assembly Elections this year.
The elections in Karnataka are being viewed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its gateway into the South.
Since the 2014 general elections, the Congress party has been defeated by the BJP in over a dozen states, drastically shrinking its political footprint.
Today's vote count will decide the political fate of key players like Siddaramaiah, B.S Yeddyurappa, Malikarjun Kharge, and H.D Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded 223 candidates, while the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) fielded 222 and 201 candidates respectively.
Out of the 224 seats, 36 of them are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs), while 15 of them are for Scheduled Tribes (STs).
It may be noted that a party or an alliance needs 112 seats to form the government.