Counting of votes for K'taka Assembly polls begins

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BJP takes over Congress, is now leading on 78 seats.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Amid torrential social media campaigns and rallies, Congress, BJP and JD (S) are fighting it out to grab the southern state of Karnataka.

It would be clear post noon whether the voters in Karnataka have given their verdict decisively as being claimed by the political parties, or for a hung assembly as projected by a majority of the post-poll surveys.

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Badami is one of the two constituencies where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has contested in the Karnataka elections.

By evening today both the Congress and the BJP would have accepted their fates and the Janata Dal (United) which sees itself as kingmaker would also know where it stands.

He pointed out that earlier professionals and experts used to conduct exit polls but these days, exit polls are being conducted under the influence of the ideology of the owners of TV channels. Due to this, the importance of JD (S) has spiked since whoever it chooses to make an alliance with, makes the next government in Karnataka.

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To ease the concerns, the Congress Party has already indicated that it is willing to put up someone like Mallikarjun Kharge, who belongs to a Dalit community, as its chief ministerial candidate. "Karnataka Election Commission has sought permission from Central Election Commission in this regard", said a member of the Congress delegation.

Against just 30-35 seats that JD (S) was expected to win, it is likely to win close to 40 seats, going by the initial trends in leads. But now the question is even if Congress becomes single largest party but if it does not surpass the magic number will it be able to form the government. He had said JD (S) will not back anyone.

The BJP won 38 of the Lingayat dominated seats, while the Congress won 19.

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