After the Karnataka exit polls predicted a split verdict where Janata Dal Secular chief Deve Gowda could emerge kingmaker, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said while he is willing to stay on in the hot seat for another term, he would step aside for a Dalit candidate if the party high command so desires.
The turnout was the highest-ever in Karnataka since the 1952 Assembly elections, he said.
Karnataka has an electorate of over 4.97 crores, including 2.52 crore men and 2.45 crore women. "At 6 feet you drown (sic)", he tweeted. However, before the formal announcement of the results, several agencies conducted exit polls, predicting the outcome. "However, we expect this number to increase, and hope it surpasses that of the previous elections", he said. "We are going to win 125-130 seats with the help of everyone".
After 239 gruelling rallies and hectic poll related schedules, former chief minister and JD (S) state president H.D. Kumaraswamy left for Singapore on Sunday morning, apparently to be away from the hustle bustle of the poll for some time.
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He is confident of the Congress getting a majority.
Another poll by India Today TV, released after voting closed on Saturday, predicted 106-118 seats for the Congress party in Karnataka, which is the only place in South India where the BJP has ever managed to win control of the state government. National General Secretary Danish Ali said that Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) CM candidate Yeddyurappa claims will prove wrong when the results will be declared.
"The Congress won't go past 70 seats, with the JD (S) getting 24 to 25".
Still, Polling to 222 Karnataka Assembly constituencies began at 7 AM and will continue till 6 PM. "We are coming back (sic)", he added in another tweet. "I hope I'll be the CM again", he stated. His party has accused Mr Deve Gowda's party of being hand-in-glove with the BJP in Chamundeshwari, where the Chief Minister is contesting from.
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The sentiment is strong that the tea leaves of the Karnataka assembly election result will tell the contours of the much bigger 2019 Lok Sabha battle.
It was highly unlikely for the JD (S) to tie-up with the BJP as it had a "bitter experience" forming a government with the saffron party in 2008 and the alliance ended on a bad note.
Vijayapura-based analyst and a longtime follower of Lingayat politics Prof Omkara Kakade tends to agree with the Chanakya findings and says, "If 40 or cent or less have voted for Congress, it will be erroneous to suggest that Siddaramaiah's Minority tag card for Lingayat community did not work".
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