India’s ruling BJP trails Congress in Karnataka state election

  • India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trailing the main opposition Congress party in elections held on 10 May in the southern state of Karnataka, but neither seemed set for a clear win, TV exit polls showed.
  • The election in Karnataka, where BJP led the outgoing government, is the first of five state elections in 2023 which are seen as setting the tone for parliamentary elections due on Apr-May 24.
  • Of the 12 exit polls, two gave Congress a majority and one said BJP would win a majority in Karnataka.
  • The remaining polls showed an inconclusive verdict, with Congress leading six and BJP three in neck-and-neck races.
  • An average of the 12 exit polls showed Congress at 107 seats and BJP at 92 in the 224-member state legislature which needs 113 seats for a majority.
  • A defeat in Karnataka would be a rare dampener for the BJP, which has been on a roll in state elections since Modi led the party to a second term in power federally in 2019.
  • A victory for Congress would come as a shot in the arm for the party which has seen its national footprint shrink to its lowest in the last decade.

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