Bengaluru: Voting for the much-anticipated Karnataka assembly election on Saturday ended with a turnout of a little over 72 per cent. The three political heavyweights who want to be chief minister once again - Siddaramaiah of the Congress, BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP and HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) - expressed confidence that their parties will come into power in the state. "Everybody knows, including Narendra Modi and Amit Shah that then BJP is going to be defeated in Karnataka," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told NDTV.
BS Yeddyurappa, the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP, that put up an aggressive campaign in the last few weeks, was also confident that his party will form the new government.
"The state is supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As I told you long back, we are going to win a minimum of 144 to 150 seats," BS Yeddyurappa told reporters.
An aggregate of nine exit polls shows the BJP emerging as the largest party with 97 seats, but well short of the majority mark. The Congress will win 90 seats and regional party Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) 31, according to the poll of exit polls.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) could emerge as the kingmaker, according to the poll of exit polls."People have already decided and are mentally prepared to bless the JD(S) party in this election. You will get surprise results on the counting day," Mr Gowda's son HD Kumaraswamy said on Saturday morning.
On Saturday, other well-known faces from the state who were seen at polling booths include cricketers Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, spiritual leaders like the 111-year-old seer of Siddaganga Mutt, Shivakumar Swami, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living.
Nearly 3.5 crore people from all walks of life, from first-time voters to senior citizens who have never missed voting in an election, exercised their franchise at over 56,000 polling booths in Karnataka. Issues on the voters' minds varied from communal harmony to garbage issues, traffic jams and school fees.
Several voters, however, had doubts about the promises made by the political parties. As he waited in the queue at a polling booth in south Bengaluru's Basavanagudi, a voter said he had come to vote for NOTA or None Of The Above. "None of them are good enough," he told NDTV.
The voting itself was not without its glitches. There were complaints of faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs) in some booths. Repolling will be held on Monday at a booth in Bengaluru's Hebbal after an EVM malfunctioned.
The counting of votes will take place on Tuesday.