The Congress on Wednesday made a spectacular come back in the state after seven years in its old southern bastion, decimating the ruling BJP whose fate was sealed by a fractious split and corruption charges.
Congress put up an impressive show in the elections bagging 121 seats, eight more than the half-way mark in a House of 224. Polls were held for 223 seats with one countermanded after a BJP candidate died.
The party's victory immediately triggered a chief ministerial race involving OBC leader Siddaramaiah and Dalit leader and Central minister Mallikarjun Kharge.
Other leaders like M Veerappa Moily, a former chief minister, also cannot be ruled out, analysts say.
The shock defeat of KPCC chief G Parameshwara virtually eliminated him from the race for chief ministership.