LIVE: EC announces the magical figure of 114 for BJP, so BJP is forming the govt in Karnataka

New Delhi, May 15: This is a big day for BJP as well as Congress as much is at stake for both national parties. JD-S is keeping both parties guessing. We bring you the LIVE updates of the big political drama unfolding here. LIVE updates:

- EC announces the magical figure of 114 for BJP, so BJP is forming the govt in Karnataka

-Official EC trends show BJP now leading on 110 seats, Congress 56, JD(S)+ 39 , Others 02

-Sensex up by over 350 points, currently at 35928.35 as BJP leads in Karnataka, Nifty at 10919.15 

-BJP workers celebrate outside party office in Bengaluru as trends show the party leading

-BJP beaming as it leads with 116, Congress at 60 and JDS at 45

-BJP nearing the halfway mark with 110, Congress 59, JDS 45

-BJP leading with 105, Congress at 61 and JDS is at 42

-BJP smiling at 101, Congress 57, JS 37 

-These are initial trends,we hope Congress will form the Govt in Karnataka and are confident of it, but yes all options(allying with JDS) are open: Ashok  

-BJP touches 100 mark, Congress 58 and JDS 37

-BJP leading at 90, Congress 70 and JDS at 32

-BJP leading at 87, Congress 74 and JDS at 26

-UT Khader of Congress ahead of rival Santhosh Kumar Rai of BJP in Mangaluru by nearly 4,000 votes

-All I want is from Yeddyurappa is to become chief minister: Sreramulu

-Congress leading at 77, BJP 84 and JDS 26

-BJP and Congress neck and neck in early trends

-Karnataka Results: Cong leading at 58, BJP 52, JD S-16

-Cong 61, BJP 47, JD S-16

-Shantinagar Cong candidate NA Haris leads by 58 votes in postal ballots

-LIVE: Karnataka Results: Congress leading in 30, BJP, 30, JD-S 16

-Senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar leading in Kanakpura

-Counting of votes for Karnataka Elections2018 begins, postal ballots to be counted first. Visuals from a strong room (where EVMs and postal ballots are kept) in Kalaburagi's Afzalpur.

-First trends show Congress leads.

-JDS's HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math in Nagamangala ahead of counting of votes for Karnataka Elections2018 . Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara and Channapatna constituencies

The Election Commission will start the counting of votes cast in the Karnataka Assembly elections on Tuesday, the results of which, according to exit polls, are unlikely to deliver a clear majority for the state’s ruling Congress and challenger Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Several exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly. Such an outcome would propel former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) into the role of a kingmaker, political commentators say.

In one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in recent times, 222 of the 224 seats in the Karnataka legislative assembly went to the polls on May 12.

Polling for the RR Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in the Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate.

Counting of votes would begin at 8 am in nearly 40 counting centres, Election Commission sources said.

The trends are likely to begin to trickle within an hour and all Karnataka election results are expected to be declared by late evening.

If the results reveal a clear victory for the Congress, the grand old party would have bucked the trend of incumbents being voted out of power since 1985, when the erstwhile Janata Dal formed the government under Ramakrishna Hegde for a second consecutive term.

It is, however, unclear if Siddaramaiah, a backward class leader with a formidable reputation, will be the next chief minister in the event of a Congress victory.

Though the Congress had said he would be its face in the elections, it stopped short of declaring him the party’s chief ministerial candidate.

Siddaramaiah caused a political flutter when he said on Monday that he was ready to make way for a Dalit chief minister if the Congress high command so decided, a statement many felt was aimed at keeping the JD(S) in good humour so as to stitch an alliance in case of a fractured mandate.
Siddaramaiah is a former JD(S) man and his ties with Deve Gowda’s party continue to be strained.

“I am confident that the Congress would win the elections with a majority and I would be the CM,” Siddaramaiah had told journalists earlier.

However, when asked on Sunday if he was ready to make way for a Dalit leader as chief minister, he said,”I have no objection. I am not against anybody but the decision has to be left to the high command.” He, however, said the high command would also consider the views of the winning candidates before deciding the next chief minister.

Since the Congress had not declared its chief ministerial candidate, Dalit veterans in the party like its leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and state Congress chief G Parameshwara are being seen as possible alternatives. Kharge had recently told PTI he was ready to take up any role assigned to him by the party.

A victory in Karnataka would help boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which has lost power in several states since Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre.

A victory for the BJP, on the other hand, will bolster Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reputation for delivering election victories for the party across the country.

It would also further galvanise the BJP cadre before the Assembly elections in party-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year.

The JD(S) has also claimed it would win a majority and that its chief ministerial candidate H D Kumaraswamy will be the “king” and not the “kingmaker”.

With the JD(S) having had partnered with both BJP and Congress in the past, it would be tough to predict which way it will go this time in the event of a hung House.