New Delhi, May 15: Counting of votes has begun for Karnataka Assembly Election 2018 and the earliest trends show BJP elbowing the Congress to lead on 53 seats while the latter is leading on 50 seats now.  The JD(S) is ahead on 15 seats while an Independent is leading on 1 seat, say earliest trends.

While incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is trailing on Badami, Yeddyurappa is leading from his bastion of Shikaripura. In Badami Siddaramaiah is pitted against BJP’s Sriramulu.  Siddaramaiah’s decision to contest from here is being seen as an act of playing it safe in case Chamundeshwari does not turn up in favour of Congress. Badami is a seat to watch out for with the contest between the CM and BJP strongman B Sriramulu. Sriramulu, too, is contesting from two seats. Yeddyurappa won from Shikaripura seven times. He won from here in 1983, 1985, 1989 and 1994. In 1999, he lost to Congress but was back in 2004, 2008 and 2013bypoll, necessitated by his winning the Lok Sabha elections from Shimoga, went to his son BY Raghavendra who later vacated the seat for him. Raghavendra is not contesting this year at all. Congress’ GB Malatesha is against him here.