Early trends on Tuesday morning show the Bharatiya Janata Party making significant gains over the ruling Congress in Karnataka as the counting of votes began in the state assembly election. At 11 am, BJP was leading in 112 of the 224 constituencies where polls were held on 12 May. The Congress was leading in 57, and the Janata Dal (Secular) in 37 seats. The trends from five important constituencies are a big clue on how Karnataka has voted this assembly election.
The JD(S)' G.T Deve Gowda has a massive lead over Congress' Siddaramaiah in the south Karnataka constituency. With over 47,000 votes as compared the current chief minister's 29,000-odd votes, Deve Gowda is expected to easily retain his seat in Chamundeshwari, where he has been the MLA since the 2013 polls.
Interestingly, Siddaramaiah was once Deve Gowda's mentor at Congress, until they fell apart more than a decade ago. Siddaramaiah has won from Chamundeshwari in the past until he moved to Varuna constituency. However, Deve Gowda has won several local and the 2013 assembly election from the constituency, where he enjoys massive support. The 66-year-old three-time MLA was a Congress party member once, and briefly joined BJP before moving to JD(S). Before the election, Deve Gowda asserted that he would emerge a "giant killer" in the Chamundeshwari constituency.
It's a neck and neck race between chief minister Siddaramaiah and BJP's B Sreeramulu. Badami is considered a "safe" Congress seat in north Karnataka. Members of the Kuruba community dominate this district. Siddaramaiah also belongs to the same community.
Congress' Chimmanakatti Balappa Bhimappa won the 2013 assembly election from Badami with a comfortable margin of over 15,000 votes.
Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah vacated this seat for the political debut of his son, S Yathindra. Early trends suggest that the Congress candidate will win with a comfortable margin in this constituency, which is considered a Congress bastion.
Both the BJP and JD(S) candidates in the constituency are trailing far behind Congress. The BJP was to field former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's son, B.Y. Vijayendra in Varuna, but the party later decided against this move.
Former chief minister and BJP Karnataka chief B.S. Yeddyurappa has a comfortable lead in this constituency. The BJP chief ministerial candidate has over 36,000 votes, as compared to his closest competitor, Congress' Goni Malatesha's 21,000-odd votes.
The 75-year-old BJP veteran has won from Shikaripura in both the 2008 and 2013 assembly elections and looks set for a victory from this constituency again.
This constituency is considered a bellwether seat. It has elected a candidate from the winning party in a dozen assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Since May 2013, it has been held by Congress MLA Ramakrishna Doddamani, but this time BJP's Ramappa Sobeppa Lamani has surged ahead with over 42,000 votes polled in his favour, as compared to Doddamani's 29,000-odd votes.
With the BJP leading in 112 seats at 11 am, the result in Shirahatti might be a big clue on where the state's electorate is tilting in this assembly election.
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