New Delhi, May 15: Even as counting is underway for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, the BJP has maintained a comfortable lead from the Congress with trends suggesting it is a good 40-odd seat ahead. The very initial trends had kept the Congress on 65 seats or so. However, as numbers started adding up, and currently, the trends are showing on 124 out of the 222 constituencies that went to poll on May 12, the BJP has elbowed ahead of the Congress. (Catch LIVE updates here.)

For this election, the BJP broke its unwritten rule of not allowing anyone over 75 years of age to contest elections by allowing BS Yeddyurappa to lead from the front. The senior leader fought from Shikaripura and as expected, is comfortably ahead of his rivals. In the likely event that the party gains a simple majority, Yeddyurappa would be the man to watch out for.

However, since it hasn’t yet touched the magic number of 112, the JD(S) would play a crucial role in forming the government in Karnataka this term. On its part, the Congress has sent out the feelers that it is open to forming a government with the JD(S) whereas the latter has also hinted at siding with the incumbent Congress if it gets a Dalit candidate for the Chief Minister’s post. Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had also hinted that he would step aside if the party chooses to elevate a Dalit candidate to the post.

JD(S) also has maintained its lead in 40+ seats, reaffirming the key role it is likely to play as the state could still head towards a hung Assembly.