Karnataka: India state votes in bitterly contested poll

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ABP C-Voter exit poll has predicted 101-113 seats for BJP, claiming that the saffron party is likely to reach the "magic figure" of 113 seats.

The NewsX-CNX exit poll projections, as depicted by NewsX, NewsX HD and NewsX Kannada, indicate that BJP may successfully dethrone the ruling Congress.

On the other end were the India TV-VMR, Times Now-VMR, and India Today-Axis My India exit polls which predicted a hung Assembly with the Congress emerging as the single largest party.

The only common point among all the exit polls is that the election is closely fought and no party is guaranteed well above the absolute majority mark.

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Polling was held on 222 of 224 seats with election on two seats having been countermanded. The Congress might win 90 seats, while the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) might win 31.

According to the scheduled announced by the Election Commission elections would be held for Karnataka South East Teachers, Karnataka south teachers and Karnataka South West teachers, Karnataka South West Graduates, Bangalore graduate and Karnataka North East graduates constituencies.

When asked about Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's advice on not believing the exit polls, Yeddyurappa said, "I am not saying this". Then came the Times Now-VMR exit poll predictions that too showed the Congress in an advantageous position with more than 100 seats.

However, sources said the BJP may be able to take the JDS on board and form the next government taking their support if it falls short of majority.

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The BJP and its allies, which are now in power in 22 of India's 29 states, are seeing the Karnataka polls as a gateway to the Southern bastion with a win in Bengaluru.

The Election Commission sent a deputy election commissioner as a "special observer" to Karnataka after recovery of almost 10,000 "fake" voter ID cards in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar Assembly. While this gives 39 per cent of the vote share to the Congress, it gives 35 per cent vote share and a range of 79-92 seats to the BJP.

He refused to comment on the exit polls and gave the example of Uttar Pradesh during its 2017 Assembly elections. The EC said that voter turnout was recorded at 70%, and that counting of the votes will take place on May 15.

The BJP and the Congress leaders are in touch with the JD (S) leadership, and have proposed power-sharing scenarios that could be acceptable to party leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.

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There were reports of malfunctioning of EVMs from some polling stations, and minor clashes between Congress and BJP supporters. "Others", that includes independents, could win only three seats, it said.

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