By Team Mangalorean, Mangalore/Bangalore
MANGALORE/BANGALORE, May 25, 2008: Jubilation broke out Sunday in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) offices here and across Karnataka as it became clear that the party was leading in 100 of the 224 assembly seats.
"We were confident of winning a clear majority. Trends show that our confidence was not misplaced," BJP state chief D.V. Sadanada Gowda told IANS.
BJP's chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yediyurapa was at his residence in Bangalore glued to TV channels and taking telephone calls from party agents from 48 counting centres across the state.
Gowda had reached the party office in Malleshwaram early in the day and kept track of the trends and giving interviews to print and electronic media.
It was quiet at the Congress office with only one general secretary present.
Former chief minister S.M. Krishna, who resigned as Maharashtra governor to be one of the leaders to lead the party's campaign in the state, was at his residence and declined to react to the trends.
In New Delhi, BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: "The BJP is smiling." Added BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad: "The verdict is in favour of the BJP and decisively against the Congress."
BJP leads in 100 seats
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was Sunday leading in over 100 seats as counting of votes progressed to pick a new 224-member Karnataka assembly.
According to election officials, of the trends available for 210 seats, the Congress was ahead in 68 and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 38 seats.
Independents and others had forged ahead in four seats.
The BJP lead sparked celebrations at the BJP office here, with supporters bursting crackers and raising slogans.
Any party or formation needs at least 113 seats to form a government.
Among the prominent candidates leading were former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy (JD-S) in Ramanagaram, former chief minister B.S. Yedyurappa (BJP) in Shikaripura, Congress state unit president Mallikarjun Kharge in Chittapur, former Congress chief minister N. Dharam Singh in Jewargi and former state minister H.D. Revanna in Holenarsipur segment.
Karnataka to see fractured mandate: analyst
Karnataka may be heading again for a hung assembly, political analyst Mahesh Rangarajan said Sunday.
"It is clear we are again looking at a fractured mandate," Rangarajan said over TimesNow television channel.
He added that he believed that the ultimate difference in the seat tally between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress would only be 10 to 15 seats.
In 2004, the Congress won 65 seats while the BJP emerged as the single largest group with 79 seats. The Janata Dal-Secular bagged 58 seats.
We shall overcome, says Alva
Bangalore, May 25 (IANS) "We will be able to overcome," Congress leader Margaret Alva said Sunday, as officials counted votes cast in the Karnataka assembly election.
Not saying specifically if the Congress would form a government, she said: "Karnataka has always been a Congress bastion. The Congress has its grassroots. We may have gone wrong in the past for some reason. The rural area has slipped.
"But we have planned very carefully this time. I can be sure that the Congress will emerge as strong as it was in the past. Victory or defeat in some constituencies here and there would not matter as anti-incumbency is inevitable."
Alva added that delimitation - or the redrawing of constituencies - "has affected many leaders from all parties. We will be able to overcome."
Counting begins in state
In few hours from now the fate of over 1200 candidates all over the state who contested for the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will be known. The counting of votes has begun all over the state at 8am sharply.
All returning officers who had been asked to coincide the precision clocks at the centres were given a go ahead signal from the Chief Elections officer M.N. Vidyashankar at exact 8am which began counting at all centers simultaneously. The first result is expected to be out by 9 am.
The first hour will not see much happening as the commission will take up postal ballots attribute them to the candidates they were meant for. Each Electronic Voting Machine which has recorded 1200 votes on an average will be taken out of their cases placed before the panel of people comprising of the returning officer, agents of various parties. The seal of the EC will then be opened and the machine will be put on and the number of votes polled to each candidate and the total votes polled will be made known to the panel.
According to a counting officer each EVM will take not less than 5 minutes to open and record votes.
People had begun to gather outside the counting centres in all the places the state right from the morning. Being a Sunday people found it convenient to come to the centres early in the morning. But those who wanted to take it easy switched on their Televisions. In all cities traffic restrictions had been imposed around the counting centres and orders have been passed by the district magistrates of the respective districts against holding processions, victory celebrations on the streets and unwanted display of revelry. Entire state has been declared liquor free till midnight on Sunday.
Future of politicians to be known today
The crucial and last segment of the 2008 assembly elections will come to an end on Sunday afternoon when the last of the results of 224 assembly constituencies will be made open by the Election Commission. Dakshina Kannada has 49 candidates including the official candidates of the major political parties, rebels, independents and maverick political aspirants. In the state over 1200 candidates would know other fate. Some of them have resigned to their fate while some are hopeful and some are vengefully happy that they have given the official candidates of the major parities a few sleepless nights.
The Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada will hold key in association with the northern parts of the state which is likely to turn in a large number of legislators belonging to the BJP while the old Mysore and the agrarian belt hopes to return JD(S) candidates to the assembly while rest of the area is likely to go Congress way.
Political experts who assessed the prospects of the parties in the state have concluded that the BJP had a slender chance of scraping through a simple majority with only 105 seats (the required number is 113)while few defectors from either JD(S) or from the Congress would join the party and allow the BJP to form the government. The second scenario indicates that the BJP would get about 90 seats Congress nearly 85 and JDS would get about 35 seats and rest will be distributed among independents, BSP and SP. The BJP and the Congress will try to woo the JD(S) and if worse come to worse these two parties will split the JD(S) into equal parts and form the government. Anyway the political observers are not hoping the event of formation of government to be over so soon and give themselves not less than 3 days to form the government.
Those names in that are sealed in the ballot boxes, nay in the memory chip boards of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) includes former Chief Ministers N. Dharam Singh, S. Bangarappa, B.S. Yeddyurappa, H.D.Kumaraswamy, KPCC president Mallikarjuna Kharge, former ministers H.K.Patil, Cheluvaraya Swamy, H.D. Revanna, B.Ramanatha Rai, B. Nagaraja Shetty, Former KSIIDC Chairman, N.Yogish Bhat, former Chairman of the KSRTC R.V. Devaraj, former ministers R.V.Deshpande, Katta Subramanya Naidu, Zameer Ahmed Khan, Merajuddin Patel, D.T.Jayakumar, D.K.Shivakumar, former union minister Ambareesh, former deputy chief ministers S. Siddaramiah, M.P Prakash, and many others. In Dakshina Kannada the votes registered by 9.74 lakh voters and in the state 4.5 crore voters will make their presence felt on Sunday when the officials and technicians will reveal the numbers registered on the EVMs. The election commission chief at Bangalore M.N. Vidyashankar was just hoping against hopes that all the EVMs would work properly.
The first of the results should be available by 10 am and the political pundits are expecting that the first results that will be out will be that of Karkala assembly constituency in Udupi district where there are only two contestants namely Sunil Kumar of BJP and Gopal Bhandary of Congress. It is a straight fight between the two. The counting will begin at the stroke of 8 am in all the counting centres in the state. The trends should be available by 11 am for the ballot watchers.
At the state capital the arrangements for counting has been praiseworthy There are about eight counting centres for Bangalore Urban and Rural districts and for the BBMP areas. Hoskote, Devanahalli, Nelamangala, Doddaballapur, Chikkaballapur, Anekal, Mahadevapura K.R.Puram, Gauribidanur are some of the areas from rural and urban districts that will have counting done in Bangalore city. 22 constituencies coming under BBMP area namely Chickpet, Gandhinagar, Chamarajpet, Sarvajnanagar, Vijayanagar, Yelahanka, Rajajinagar,Malleshwaram, Shivajinagar, BTM Lay out, Govindarajanagar, Kodihalli, Padmanabhanagar, Uttarhalli, Yeshwanthpura and many more will also have counting in the city.
The Information department headquarters in the city has made elaborate arrangements for broadcast of election results from time to time. The city is swarmed by the media as their high tech outdoor broadcast vans and up-linking vehicles have arrived in the city representing all the big channels of the country. Formidable technology has been infused into the election broadcast and viewers and radio listeners will get all the details as and things happen at the counting centres.
Karnataka Assembly Elections 2008 - Complete Coverage