Most exit polls predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka and many of them forecasted that the Congress would emerge as the single largest party. It has been three hours into the counting now, and it looks like the BJP has proved all such polls wrong. The BJP is leading in 117 seats and the Congress is lagging far behind with leads in 63 seats.
If we compare it to last time's election, then the BJP has almost tripled the number of seats it may end up winning. The opinion polls that came out weeks before polling had failed to take into account the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed over 20 rallies after May 1.
Almost two weeks before Karnataka voted on May 12, PM Modi came to the state, stayed in Karnataka till campaigning ended and attended 21 public rallies covering the length and breadth of the state.
Modi called Siddaramaiah names, launched scathing attack on Congress, praised Deve Gowda but the very next day asked people to not 'waste' their vote on JD (S). Whatever he did, Modi remained in headlines and kept sending shivers down the Congress' spine. Congress claimed there was no 'Modi wave', but now on the hindsight, it seems the wave is very much there and will remain relevant even during 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
It was a delayed visit of Modi to Karnataka, but it definitely rejuvenated the BJP cadres on the ground as rallies after rallies of the PM saw huge crowds. In every rally, Modi began his address in Kannada and was constantly accompanied by a translator to translate his speeches from Hindi to Kannada for the crowd.
From invoking the names of Basavanna, the 12th-century Lingayat philosopher, social reformer and statesman, to M Visvesvaraya, the great engineer and Bharat Ratna awardee, local was the flavour in all Modi speeches in Karnataka.
The Congress, as per the results declared till now, has been decimated. The party is struggling at 63 seats which a little more than double of what they had won in 2013.
The BJP may sweep the coastal region of Karnataka which has 21 seats including Madikeri and Chikamagaluru. The BJP as of now is leading in 18 of these 21 seats. In Bengaluru region, which has 36 seats, the BJP is leading in 15 seats while the Congress and JD (S) are leading in 11 and 8 seats, respedtively.