70% voter turnout was recorded in the politically-crucial Karnataka Assembly elections, for which the polling ended at 6 pm today. The Election Commission on Friday deferred the polls for the Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to May 28 after a massive row erupted over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment. Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA B N Vijaykumar.
The adrenaline-charged campaign came to an end on Thursday, with top leaders of the BJP and Congress, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, making a last-gasp effort to sway the voters in a likely cliffhanger, as suggested by several opinion polls.
Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 Voting Live: When and where to watch the live streaming of polling in 222 seats
The Congress is aiming at retaining the only large state it rules after Punjab, while the BJP is striving to form its government in Karnataka, which party president Amit Shah said will be its "gateway to south", for a second time.
The BJP had ruled the state between 2008 and 2013, the only time it did so, but its tenure was marred by intra-party feuds and allegations of corruption. One of its three chief ministers and its current chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa was in jail over corruption charges.
As it happened:
6:55 pm: We are very confident that we are going to form the govt again. There is a strong wave in favor of Congress: KC Venugopal, Congress
6:50 pm: 70% voter turnout figure received so far in Karnataka polls: Election Commission
6:42 pm: EVMs & VVPATs being sealed at a polling booth in Gandhi Nagar constituency (Earlier visuals)
6:40 pm: Except few polling stations, where people are still standing in the line and voting, polling has been completed in almost all polling stations: Election Commission.
6:35 pm: BJP may win 87 seats, Congress 97 seats, JDS 35 seats; IndiaTV-VMR predicts hung assembly.
5:30 pm: 61.25% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in Karnataka Elections 2018
4:20 pm: Rain lashed parts of Hubli affecting voting, voters take shelter at Polling Station 185.
Karnataka: Rain lashed parts of Hubli affecting voting, voters take shelter at Polling Station 185. pic.twitter.com/gozEZFIJGY— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
3:50 pm: Majority of the 3500 residents of Chittapur taluk's Tarkaspet village in Kalburagi district are boycotting Karnataka Elections over their demand for Gram Panchayat headquarters for their village.
3:30 pm: Siddaramaiah calls Yeddyurappa 'mentally disturbed' over swearing-in comment. “You see, Yeddyurappa is mentally disturbed,” said Siddaramaiah when a journalist asked him about the BJP leader’s statement that he will win the elections and will be sworn in as chief minister on May 17.
3:25 pm: 43-degree Celsius temperature in Kalaburgi affects the voter turn out. Locals say, 'there was a rush at the booths in the morning, but now there is hardly any crowd at the booths as the temperature is quite high. Right now, it is more than 40 degrees.'
3:10 pm: 56% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm in Karnataka Elections 2018
03:05 pm: This Amit Shah is like a comedy show and Narendra Modi's image has drastically declined, his speeches are completely hollow and have made no impact on the voters of Karnataka. Therefore we are not worried: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
02:08 pm: With 47%, Dakshin Kannada has recorded highest voting so far and Bengaluru Urban is the lowest at 28% till 1 pm
01:42 pm: JDS has distributed a lot of money, their candidate says he is a society secretary, so from where did he get so much money? Also, BJP is openly supporting JDS, they have put up a dummy candidate here: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah on Chamundeshwari constituency
01:38 pm: We appeal to people to exercise their voting rights & choose a govt of clean image. We are hopeful that public will take a huge decision today to change the politics of nation, will reject national parties BJP & Congress, and instead vote for JD(S)-BSP alliance: Danish Ali, JD(S)
01:21 pm: As the outcry about the alleged vulnerability of the EVMs to tampering grew louder, the Election Commission has come up with the 'M3 EVMs' that are tamper proof and stops when attempts are made to meddle with it. The machine, according to sources in the office of the chief electoral officer, has features like display of battery status and digital certification. The machine can report about the malfunction on its own
Former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde casts his vote at a polling booth in Bengaluru. Hegde says, 'Over the years, I feel that malpractices have increased. Distribution of sarees. alcohol, dhotis & cookers have come out in open. It is not a good sign in democracy.' pic.twitter.com/8ZaBQBep9o— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
It is a sensitive polling booth & the clash between BJP and Congress workers happened within 100 meters of the booth. We will investigate and take further action: Ravi Channannavar, Bengaluru DCP #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/8npPZcCvjs— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
Bengaluru: Clashes broke out b/w Congress & BJP workers outside a polling booth in Hampi Nagar,allegedly after the former thrashed a BJP corporator. Ravindra, Vijayanagar BJP candidate says, 'our corporator Anand was attacked but police isn't taking any action' #KarnatakaElection pic.twitter.com/SuXFNlI62d— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
Woman stopped from entering a polling both in #Belagavi as she was reluctant to remove her 'burqa' for identification, was later allowed when a woman official identified her inside a cubicle. #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/eixmdaY1Op— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
#WATCH: As voting in #Karnataka continues, CM Siddaramaiah says, 'Yeddyurappa is mentally disturbed. Congress will get more than 120 seats. I am very confident.' #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/yE6isfZcYq— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
Dharwad: BJP workers staged protest outside Booth No. 58 in Karadigudda, alleging that polling staff at the booth were asking people to vote for Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni. EC officials present at the spot #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/xPgwpKhEEq— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
12:26 pm: We are very-very confident that Congress party will come back to power with complete majority: CM Siddaramaiah in Mysuru's Varuna
I have been visiting villages in the constituency for last 1 & half years. Election campaigning didn't feel any different. Wherever I went, people expressed confidence in Congress govt: Dr Yatheendra, Congress candidate from Varuna constituency & son of #Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah pic.twitter.com/nPAwP93lRu— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
11:44 am: As there is model code of conduct in Karnataka, PM Modi planned to pray at temples in Nepal instead, just to influence voters.This is not a good trend for democracy.Why did he only choose today as the day?: Ashok Gehlot,Congress
HD Kumaraswamy and wife Anitha after casting their vote in Ramanagara. Kumaraswamy says, 'We are confident that JDS will cross the magic number on its own' #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/ARk584lQfR— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
11:22 am: 24 per cent voter turnout recorded till 11 am, says state Election Commission.
11:15 am: Clashes reported between Congress and BJP workers in Bengaluru's Vijayanagara
— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
10:39 am: 11% voting recorder in Belgaum, 11% in Bagalkot and 10% in Bijapur
10:38 am: Voting delayed for two hours in Banahatti 137 polling booth due to faulty EVM. People are still waiting to cast their votes in 167 booth in Bagalkot. People are blaming authorities for faulty EVMs.
We are confident. BJP will not win more than 60-70 seats maximum, forget getting 150. They are just dreaming of forming the Government: Mallikarjun Kharge,Congress #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/aLiu71KCGo— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
09:49 am: The Election Commission said the voter turnout across Karnataka stood at 10.6 percent on Saturday morning till 9.15 am.
JD(S)'s HD Deve Gowda, his wife Chennamma Deve Gowda, son HD Revanna & other family members cast their votes at polling booth no.244 in Holenarasipura town in Hassan district. pic.twitter.com/U40iXkAM1L— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
09:02 am: During the initial hour of voting, there were reports of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioning in some booths; power crisis in a polling station in Rajajinagar seat; voters names missing at few booths and women clad in burqa made to reveal their faces at a Belagavi polling booth -- that led to a few hiccups.
08:49 am: With no party touching the magic mark in the opinion poll, Karnataka is likely to throw a hung assembly, according to several opinion polls.
Bellary: BJP's B.Sriramalu performed 'gau pooja' (cow worship) before casting his vote. He is contesting against CM Siddaramaiah from Badami constituency. #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/Ht3akZlzK3— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2018
07:22 am: The BJP is looking at adding another state to their kitty, riding on ‘Modi wave’ and the ambitious campaign blitzkrieg by party president Amit Shah.
Also Read: Karnataka elections: Poll outcome to largely depend on urban-rural divide; opinion polls suggest hung assembly
07:16 am: Urging my sisters and brothers of Karnataka to vote in large numbers today. I would particularly like to call upon young voters to vote and enrich this festival of democracy with their participation: PM Modi
07:01 am: Voting for Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 begins.
06:58 am: Certainly there will be increase in voting this time. They want to remove the Siddaramaiah government from Karnataka. People will come out in large numbers: Sadananda Gowda, BJP
06:56 am: The BJP, which came to power on its own for the first time in Karnataka in 2008 but lost to the Congress after five years in the May 2013 assembly election, hopes to make a foray into the south again ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The party hopes to make up its possible losses in the north where it had peaked four years ago.
Also Read: Karnataka elections: Lingayats to bank on Congress’ ‘masterstroke’ or BJP’s ‘sympathy card’?
06:44 am: While no party in Karnataka has won a second successive term in office since 1985, CM Siddaramaiah believes Congress will break the jinx.
I appeal to all office bearers & workers of the Congress party in Karnataka to provide all possible assistance to those affected by the heavy rains.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 11, 2018
Our polling booth teams must remain alert and help voters facing difficulties in reaching polling booths tomorrow.
06:40 am: The IMD has predicted light drizzles in several parts of the poll-bound state.
06:39 am: People are fed up with the Siddaramaiah government. I urge the people to come out and vote for BJP. I assure the people of Karnataka that I'm gonna give good governance: Yeddyurappa
06:32 am: It is an auspicious day, everyone should come out vote vote. We (BJP) will get more than 150 seats, and I'm gonna make the government on 17th May: BS Yeddyurappa
06:25 am: India TV’s Final Opinion Poll says that the Congress will win 96 seats, BJP on 85 and the JD(S) will win over 38 seats – the expected kingmaker on the D-Day. With no party touching the magic mark in the opinion poll, Karnataka is likely to throw a hung assembly.
06:20 am: There are more than 4.98 crore voters who are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives from a field of little over 2,600 candidates. Men account for over 2.52 crore voters, women around 2.44 crore, while there are 4,552 transgender electors.
06:15 am: Election office sources said over 55,600 polling stations have been set up, and there would be some auxiliary booths too.
06:12 am: Over 3.5 lakh personnel will be on duty to ensure a free and fair poll.
06:10 am: Some polling stations in tribal areas will have ethnic look, sources said, adding government employees with disabilities will do duty at select polling stations for the first time.
06:08 am: It is for the first time that people would be able know about the queue status at polling stations with large number of voters through a mobile app, sources said.
06:06 am: No party in Karnataka has won a second successive term in office since 1985 when the Janata Dal under Ramakrishna Hegde had retained power.