As voting ended in Karnataka on Saturday, six out of eight major exit polls aired by six national television channels and one regional channel, predicted that the BJP would get the largest number of seats in the new assembly.
Seven polls predicted a hung assembly, with neither the BJP nor the Congress getting to the simple majority mark of 112 seats. All these polls suggested that the JD(S) would be kingmaker, with the party predicted to get between 20 and 40 seats.
The predictions were made for 222 of the 224 seats in the assembly. Voting in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat was deferred to May 28 after 9,896 voter ID cards were found in a city flat ahead of Saturday’s voting. Election for the Jayanagar seat was put off following the death of the BJP candidate. The ABP-C Voter, NewsX-CNX, Republic-Jan ki Baat and News Nation exit polls predicted the BJP would be the largest party in the assembly. A similar prediction was made by the regional Dighvijay-Vijayawani survey.
READ | The Battle for Karnataka
Times Now broadcast two exit polls. One, Times Now-VMR, gave the Congress a narrow lead; the other, Times Now-Today’s Chanakya, gave the BJP a clear majority. The India Today-Axis exit poll said the Congress would be the single largest party.
The ABP-C Voter survey predicted 104-116 seats for the BJP, followed by 83-94 for the Congress, and 20-29 for the JD(S). NewsX-CNX predicted 102-110 seats for the BJP, 72-78 for the Congress, 35-39 for the JD (S), and 3-5 for others. The Republic-Jan ki Baat poll said the BJP would get 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 37, and others 3.
The Times Now-Chanakya poll said the BJP would get 120 seats. This was the only poll that predicted a majority for any party. The Congress, Times Now-Chanakya said, would get 73, JD(S) 26, and others 3. According to Times Now-VMR, however, the Congress will get 97 seats, and the BJP 94. The JD(S) will get 28, and others 3, it predicted.
The News Nation poll predicted 99-108 for the BJP, 75-84 for the Congress, 31-40 for the JD(S), and 3-7 for others. Dighvijay-Vijayawani gave 103-107 seats to the BJP, 76-80 to the Congress, 31-35 to the JD(S), and 4-8 to others.
The India Today-Axis poll was the only one to predict victory for the Congress. The ruling party will get between 106 and 118 seats, it said, followed by the BJP with 79-92, JD(S) with 22-30, and others with 1-4.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he was confident that the Congress would retain power. He had said earlier in the day that the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa was “mentally disturbed” to have claimed that the BJP would form the next government. Siddaramaiah also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, alleging that income-tax raids had been ordered against Congress workers and well-wishers out of desperation because the BJP was sure to lose.
In 2013, the Congress had won 122 seats. The BJP and the JD(S) got 40 seats each, while Yeddyurappa’s then Karnataka Jantha Paksha got 6 seats and B Sriramulu’s Badavara Shramikara Raitara Congress Party bagged 4.