Bengaluru: Putting up its best-ever performance in south India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in 24 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, where the vote count was underway on Thursday.
The BJP`s near sweep has reduced the ruling coalition allies Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) to save their face in two parliamentary seats and JD-S in one. An Independent - south Indian multi-lingual film actress Sumalatha Ambareesh, backed by the BJP - is leading in Mandya over JD-S contestant Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and grandson of JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda.
The 24 constituencies the BJP is leading in are: Bagalkot, Bangalore Central, Bangalore North, Bangalore South, Bellary (ST), Belgaum, Bidar, Bijapur (SC), Chikkaballapur, Chikkodi, Chitradurga (SC), Dakishna Kannada, Davangere, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Haveri, Kolar (SC), Koppal, Mysore, Raichur (ST), Shimoga, Tumkur, Udupi-Chikmaglur and Uttara Kannada.
The Congress is leading in Bangalore Rural and Chamarajanagar (SC) while the JD-S in Hassan. The BJP contested in 27 seats while the ruling allies Congress in 21 and the JD-S in 7 as part of their pre-poll alliance seat arrangement.
Prominent leading BJP candidates are Union Ministers D.V. Sadananada Gowda in Bangalore North, Ananth Kumar Hegde in Uttara Kannada and Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi in Bijapur (SC), outgoing members Prahlad Joshi in Dharwad, Shoba Karandlaje in Udupi-Chikmaglur, B.Y. Raghavendra in Shimoga, Nailin Kumar Kateel in Dakshina Kannada and Pratap Simha in Mysore.
BJP`s first-time contestant and its young turk Tejaswi Surya is leading by 2,58,944 votes against Congress Rajya Sabha member B.K. Hariprasad in the high-profile Bangalore South. In Bangalore Central, BJP`s two-time winner P.C. Mohan overtook his Congress rival Rizwan Arshad after trailing in the initial rounds.
Deve Gowda was trailing behind BJP`s G.S. Basavaraj in Tumkur. His other grandson - Prajwaj Revanna - is, however, leading in the JD-S bastion Hassan against A. Manju of the Congress. Congress leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, is also trailing behind BJP`s Umesh Jadav in Gulbarga (SC).
In the 2014 general elections, the BJP won 17, Congress nine and JD-S two.