Karnataka Elections 2023: record 72.67% voter turnout, Exit polls give edge to Cong
The voting in Karnataka has come to an end with the voters sealing the fate of political parties. As the polling for the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly began at 7 am, a voter turnout of 72.67 per cent has been recorded till 6 pm, the Election Commission said. This is new record. The state had registered a record turnout of 72.36 per cent in the 2018 Assembly election.
The voting in Karnataka has come to an end with the voters sealing the fate of political parties. As the polling for the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly began at 7 am, a voter turnout of 72.67 per cent has been recorded till 6 pm, the Election Commission said. This is new record. The state had registered a record turnout of 72.36 per cent in the 2018 Assembly election. The EC said the final figures will be known today.
Polling drew to a close at 6 PM on Wednesday to elect a new Karnataka Assembly, with five exit polls predicting a fractured verdict, but giving a slight edge to Congress. Their predictions also indicate that HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular is likely to play kingmaker.
The state is mainly witnessing a three-cornered contest between the ruling BJP, the Congress and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) though a total of 2,615 candidates are in the fray.
Prominent among those who voted today include former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and former chief ministers B S Yediyurappa and D V Sadananda Gowda (both BJP) and Siddaramaiah and Jagadish Shettar (both Congress) and IT industry veteran N R Narayana Murthy with his wife Sudha Murty.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is seeking re-election from Shiggaon in Haveri district for a fourth consecutive term, said he would win with a record margin. "So is the BJP," he added, "which is going to win with a record number of seats." Bommai said the party would get a "comfortable majority". Counting of votes for all 224 seats will take place on May 13.
Meanwhile, exit polls conducted by various news channels and agencies, have predicted a fractured verdict. For a simple majority, 113 seats is the magic margin. Before the start of elections, a majority of opinion polls predicted a "major win" for the Congress, "big loss" for the BJP, and "below-par performance" for the JD(S).
The ABP News-CVoter opinion poll predicted that Congress is likely to form the government and might win 107 to 119 seats, while BJP is likely to bag 74 to 86 seats and Janata Dal (S) can secure between 23 and 35 seats. The poll suggests that Congress could end up securing some 40 per cent vote share, while BJP and JD (S) are likely to secure 35 per cent and 17 per cent vote shares respectively.
India TV-CNX opinion poll predicted 105 seats for Congress, 85 for BJP and 32 for JD (S). A pre-poll by Kannada media outlet Eedina not only predicted a comfortable victory for Congress but stated that BJP might not secure more than 65-67 seats. India Today-CVoter predicted Congress is likely to win 107 and 119 seats while BJP could win 74 to 86 seats.
According to the NDTV-Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies survey, Congress is likely to be ahead of the BJP and Siddaramaiah is the most popular choice for the chief minister post. However contrary to this, Zee News-Matrize's opinion poll predicted BJP to win 103 to 115 seats, Congress to secure 79 to 91 seats and JD (S) 26-36 seats.
Suvarna News 24x7 and Jan Ki Baat, both Kannada news channels, also suggested that the BJP may win the most seats to become the single-largest party. However, the survey indicates that the Congress party may receive a slightly higher proportion of votes compared to the BJP.