New Delhi, May 15:  The results for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 will be declared on Tuesday. Counting of votes will begin at 8 am today amid tight security and by 12 noon, a final picture could emerge on who would be the major player in the state. In a bid to avoid any untoward incident, heavy security has been deployed at the 38 counting centres in the state, five of which are in Bengaluru. Police have also banned celebrations, processions and bursting of crackers around those 38 counting centres. An officer of the rank of superintendent of police (SP) or deputy commissioner of police (DCP) will reportedly supervise security measures at each counting centre.

“Paramilitary forces, armed forces including the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and civil policemen will be deployed to control the crowd and avoid any untoward incident at each counting centre. The respective SPs have been given the liberty to use Rapid Action Force (RAF) troops to maintain law and order in their jurisdiction,” leading daily Times of India quoted Kamal Pant, additional director general of police (law and order) as saying.

In a bid to curb the distribution of cash, liquor and other items to swing the electoral process, the Election Commission deployed three flying squads in every constituency, 154 general observers, 136 expenditure observers, 34 police observers, 10,000 micro observers, 3.2 lakh polling personnel and members of the Central police forces in all polling stations. (Also Read: Karnataka Election Result: Why BJP Holds All The Aces)

Meanwhile, on May 12, Karnataka witnessed a record 72.13 per cent voter turnout, the highest since the 1952 assembly polls. “The final voter turnout is 72.13 per cent in 222 constituencies, including 36 reserved for Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes,” said CEO Sanjeev Kumar in a statement, a day after the polling on Saturday.

Women and young voters exercised their franchise in large numbers, Kumar said adding, “The 2013 Assembly polls had recorded a turnout of 71.45 per cent, which was the highest in the last six Assembly elections. It was 65 per cent in 2008 and 2004, 69 per cent in the 1989 and 1994 and 69 per cent in the 1990 elections.”

Soon after the polling for the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly ended, the results of different exit polls presented a conflicting picture. While some gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  an edge over the ruling Congress, others predicted that the Congress might get the most seats, making it a strong contender to form the next government in the state that it has been ruling for the past five years. The magic mark will be 112  seats as the polling was held on 222 Assembly constituencies. However, in an overall scenario, the exit polls have not given any party a clear winning margin.

Downplaying the exit polls, of which majority (7 out of 9) gave favourable verdict to the BJP, a defiant Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was confident the ruling Congress would retain power, as, according to him “there was no anti-incumbency”.  On the other hand, Yeddyurappa said the BJP would get a clear majority and ruled out a hung verdict. JD-S president HD Kumaraswamy, however, maintained that his party would be the king and not kingmaker to form the next government with the support of its ally Bhujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Independents.

Notably, the Congress has been defeated by the BJP in over a dozen states, drastically shrinking its political footprint. The BJP is making an all-out bid to oust the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka and is looking to come back to power in the state with B.S. Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate. On the other hand, the H.D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) is looking to establish itself once again in Karnataka politics and is expected to give a tough fight to both the BJP and the Congress. (BJP Will Win Over 125 Seats, Asserts BS Yeddyurappa)

On May 12, polling was held in 222 segments of the 224-member legislative assembly, as election to Bengaluru’s Raja Rajeshwari (RR) Nagar had been postponed to May 28 in the voter cards case and countermanded in Jayanagar segment due to the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4. In 2013 Karnataka Assembly Elections, the Congress won 122 seats and the BJP bagged only 40 seats.

(With agency inputs)