Counting of votes in Karnataka today; Congress smells power, BJP tense

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Bangalore: The votes are in. The people have decided.

Karnataka will soon know who has been chosen to represent the people in the next state assembly. Counting in the 2013 assembly elections begins at 8 am and the final outcome should be known by early afternoon at the latest.

The ruling BJP is not feeling too optimistic about holding on to power. The majority mark in the 224 member assembly is 113. Last time the BJP won 110 – and made up the difference with the help of independents.

This time, senior leader and former chief minister Sadananda Gowda says the party is looking at around 80 seats.

The Congress is confident about forming the government based on exit polls and their own internal assessment. State party chief G Parameshwara said the party was sure of a majority.

The next question – if the Congress confidence is justified, would be to choose a chief minister from among the front runners? Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah, Veerappa Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge are the names doing the rounds.

Former BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and his newly formed Karnataka Janata Party are not expected to win many seats – but he would hope to be a kingmaker in the event of a hung assembly.

The Janata Dal (Secular) is also hoping to be in a position to bargain once the results are in.

Karnataka waits.

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