The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading in 23 seats in Karnataka. Vote count in the 28 parliamentary seats, which started at 8am, is under way in all the 28 counting centers across the state.
In Bengaluru, the Congress led in the North and Central constituencies, whereas the BJP’s Tejasvi Surya amassed a significant lead over his rival BK Hariprasad of the BJP in the Bengaluru South constituency.
Three Congress veterans Mallikarjun Kharge (from Gulbarga), KH Muniyappa (from Kolar) and M Veerappa Moily (from Chikkaballapur) were all trailing their rivals from the BJP.
Elsewhere, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s grandsons,Prajwal Revanna (from Hassan) and NIkhil Kumaraswamy (from Mandya) , were leading in their respective constituencies, even as the patriarch himself was trailing by a slender margin.
In Bidar, Congress’s state working president Eshwar B Khandre was seen trailing sitting MP Bhagwant Khuba of the BJP.
Apart from DV Sadananda Gowda, the BJP MP from the Bengaluru North, his colleagues in the union cabinet Anantkumar Hegde from Uttara Kannada and Ramesh Jigajinagi from Bijapur constituency were leading.
Among the two assembly seats for which by-elections were held, BJP’s Avinash Jadhav was leading in the Chincholi seat while Kusumavati Shivalli of the Congress was leading in the Kundgol seat.
In Shimoga, in a rematch of last year’s by-elections, BY Raghavendra, son of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, was leading Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S), who is the son of former chief minister S Bangarappa.
These are leads from early trends and they are subject to change.
If the arithmetic of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) has not worked on ground, the future of the state government might hang in balance.
The Lok Sabha election in Karnataka was held in the second and third phase of polling on April 18 and April 23 with 14 parliamentary constituencies voting in each of the two rounds.
The exit polls on Sunday showed the BJP well placed to win most Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.
Results of the Lok Sabha polls and the by-elections to two assembly constituencies — Chincholi and Kundgol — is also crucial for the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state. The coalition had come together not just to form the government in the state but to also try and dent the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has won more than half the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the last three general elections.
Among the 28 seats, the Mandya constituency in which chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil went up against Sumalatha, wife of the late film star and former Union minister MH Ambareesh, was the most bitterly contested.
The battle was so pitched that there was an increase in turnout of over 8% in the constituency as it went on to record its highest ever voting percentage of 80.23%. One of the reasons Sumalatha put up a good fight despite the might of the JD(S) in the district was because she received the tacit support of the Congress leaders from Mandya. As a result, the outcome in this seat could affect the coalition.
With former prime minister HD Deve Gowda deciding to vacate his Hassan seat in favour of his other grandson Prajwal Revanna and picking the Tumkur seat for himself, there was disenchantment from even within his own party at the decision to field so many members of his family.
Elsewhere, in Gulbarga Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, too, faced a scare after a group of dissident former Congressmen ganged up against him. The BJP fielded Congress rebel Umesh Jadhav as its candidate.
In Shimoga, where there was a battle between the sons of two former chief ministers, too, there was an increase in turnout. Here, Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S), who is the younger son of former chief minister S Bangarappa, was pitted against BJP state president and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra.
Coordination between the coalition partners was expected to provide it with an edge in the Mysuru seat, especially. However, earlier this month JD(S) minister GT Devegowda claimed that the JD(S) workers had voted for the BJP candidate rather than the Congress one.