The BJP's maiden rule of Karnataka is set to end as the party is headed for a massive defeat in the assembly election held on Sunday, predicted the exit polls telecast by various TV channels at the end of voting.
The polls, however, differed on whether the Congress would get a clear majority with some giving it a low of 100, which is 13 short of the majority mark of 113 in the 225-member assembly, and a high of 120.
The CNN-IBN exit poll gives the BJP 43-53, against the pre-poll survey's 39-49.
While all placed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the second place with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) following, CNN-IBN forecast a possible tie between the two for the second spot.
The Karnataka Janata Party headed by BJP's first chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, was expected to get between 5 and 13 seats while the third major political force in the state, the JD-S was predicted to bag between 30 and 50 seats.
The exit poll by CNN-IBN has, while giving the Congress victory, revised its estimates of its seat tally to get 100-116 seats following the change in the political scenario of the state in last two weeks. The earlier pre-poll survey, conducted along with The Week, in the second week of April had given the party 117-129 seats.
The poll attributed the drop to faulty choice of candidates leading to unhappiness within the party and open and subtle opposition to the official nominee, infighting between prominent party leaders of the Congress and absence of a well orchestrated and coordinated campaign, among other reasons.
The BJP's projected debacle is in contrast to its 2008 victory when it had formed the first government in a south India. It would be paying the price for intense in-fighting with former chief minister Yeddyurappa, who led it to victory in 2008, leaving the party and contesting elections from his own Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).
The BJP had won 110 seats in the 2008 poll, cross the majority mark of 113 with the support of five Independents and formed the government. The Congress had secured 80 seats.
Headlines Today-C-Voter poll: Congress - 114, BJP - 55, JD-S - 34, KJP - 11. Others - 9.
Three Kannada TV channels gave the following projection:
Suvarna-C-Fore: Congress: 109-120. BJP: 49-60, JD-S: 34-41, KJP: 5-12, Others: 10-15.
TV9-C-Voter: Cong: 110-118, BJP: 51-59, JDS: 31-37, KJP: 9-13, Others: 7-11.
Public TV: Congress: 119, BJP: 39-49, JD-S: 34-44, KJP+others: 14.
ABP News: Congress 110 to 118 seats, BJP: 51 to 59 seats JD(S): 31 to 37 seats, KJP: 9 to 13.
Times Now: Congress - 132, BJP - 38, JD(S) - 38 seats, Others, including KJP and Independents - 15
Of the 225-member Karnataka assembly, one member is nominated, while polling to one seat was countermanded following a candidate's death.