New Delhi, May 15: The results for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 will be declared today. Counting of votes will begin soon and the final results are expected to be out by late afternoon. All eyes are on whether the Congress will be able to retain power or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will return to the state even as exit polls have predicted a hung is live with the coverage of Karnataka Vidhan Sabha poll results. Also Read - NEET, JEE 2020: Siddaramaiah Questions Govt For Being Adamant, Kamal Hassan Says Will be Blunder to Hold exams

Voting was held on Saturday, May 12. Karnataka witnessed a record 72.13 per cent voter turnout, the highest since the 1952 assembly polls. “The voter turnout in the polls broke all records. By midnight, the figures showed that it was 72.13 per cent,” Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar said. Repolling was held at polling booth number 20 and 21 in Kushtagi assembly constituency and Hebbala constituency’s Lottagollanahalli booth number 2. The repolling was necessitated due to technical errors. The exit polls have predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka just like the opinion polls did. Though exit polls are divided on whether the Congress or the BJP will emerge as the single largest party. But a majority of exit polls have predicted advantage BJP, with Today’s-Chanakya Times Now even predicting a clear mandate for the party. On the other hand, the India Today-Axis My India exit poll predicted that the Congress would emerge as the single largest party. Poll pundits have called it a wave-less election in Karnataka. It will be interesting to see how the final picture pans out later in the day. Also Read - Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Discharged From Hospital After Recovering From COVID-19

Fates of 2,500-odd candidates, including key players like Siddaramaiah, BS Yeddyurappa, and HD Kumaraswamy, will be known today. While Belagavi district had the highest number of voters (37,23,585), Kodagu district had the lowest voter share (4,33,846). Hosakote in Bengaluru Rural recorded the highest polling percentage with 89.97 percent, while Dasarahalli seat in Bengaluru Urban had the lowest voter turnout, with only 48.03 percent of voters casting their vote. Also Read - Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Admitted to Hospital

Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has been leading the Congress campaign, is confident about his party’s potential to retain the state by a huge majority. He is contesting from two seats – Chamundeshwari and Badami. Banking on his party’s five-year development plan and “Kannada identity”, Siddaramaiah announced that this would be his last election and said he was ready to give up his seat for a Dalit leader.

The BJP, led by star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left no stone unturned by campaigning aggressively in Karnataka, by addressing over ten rallies and is hopeful that it would wrest back power from the Congress. Its chief ministerial candidate, Yeddyurappa, who is contesting from the Shikaripura seat for the seventh time, has expressed confidence that his party will win 125 to 130 seats in the 224-member assembly. Popular among the Lingayat community, Yeddyurappa will be hoping to win votes from the 50,000-strong community. He was credited with helping the BJP to win the Karnataka elections for the first time in 2008.

JD(S), the third force in the state, led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy, is optimistic of an electoral win, or to gain enough seats to play a kingmaker’s role in case of a fractured mandate. The party had asserted that it would neither side with the BJP or the Congress. However, sources said the JD(S) would ally with the Congress if it propped up a Dalit for the Chief Minister’s post. The JD(S) is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics. Like Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy contested from the Ramanagaram and Channapatna constituencies respectively.