As Karnataka appeared headed for a hung Assembly with the BJP set to emerge as the single largest party but falling short of a majority, the Congress on Tuesday sprang a surprise, declaring it will back the JD(S) in forming the government.
Seeking to throw a spanner in the BJP's works as the party appeared tantalisingly close to the magic figure of 112, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced Congress's support to the JD(S).
Emerging from a huddle with senior Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Siddaramaiah said,"We have decided that the Congress will extend support to the JD(S) to form the government. That's the best way to keep the BJP out (of power)."
Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy wrote to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala informing him about his decision to accept the Congress' support to form the government.
In a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, Kumaraswamy, whose party was a distant third after the BJP and Congress, sought an appointment for this evening.
In one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in recent times, Karnataka went to polls on May 12. Since 1985, no party has retained the reins of the state.
Karnataka Election Results Live Updates:
# 7:00 PM: JD(S) & Congress have enough numbers to form the government. BJP cannot form the government without the numbers: M Veerappa Moily, Congress
# 6:30 PM: Congress & JDS has 117, we need 111 to form the govt. Since we were in power, and we lost, we have given our support for JDS led govt. BJP has 104, we are ahead of them : Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress
Congress & JDS has 117, we need 111 to form the govt. Since we were in power, and we lost, we have given our support for JDS led govt. BJP has 104, we are ahead of them : Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress pic.twitter.com/NUaGSQ2whV— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#05:40 PM: Karnataka: HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, DK Shivakumar and other Congress MLAs went inside the Raj Bhawan.
Karnataka: HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, DK Shivakumar and other Congress MLAs went inside the Raj Bhawan pic.twitter.com/Mgyxsk4SOO— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#05:35 PM: JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy arrives at Raj Bhawan to meet Karnataka Governor in Bengaluru.
#05:30 PM: Just now we met Governor because we are the single largest party and that he allows us to prove majority in the Assembly: BS Yeddyurappa
#05:10 PM: It is upto the understanding of the Governor who he calls to form the government. It is upto him if he wants to call the single largest party or a coalition government: Subhash Kashyap, Constitutional expert
#04:30 PM: I’m here with our independent MLA. The independent MLA Mr Nagesh & others MLAs are with us. We have the numbers. We want a secular govt in Karnataka: DK Shivakumar, Congress
I'm here with our independent MLA. The independent MLA Mr Nagesh & others MLAs are with us. We have the numbers. We want a secular govt in Karnataka: DK Shivakumar, Congress #KarnatakaElection2018 pic.twitter.com/id60xaE62T— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#04:25 PM: JD-S's HD Kumaraswamy seeks appointment from the Governor of #Karnataka this evening, writes we have accepted Congress's support to form the Government.
JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy seeks appointment from the Governor of #Karnataka this evening, writes we have accepted Congress's support to form the Government. #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/epuCqf4m17— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#04:06 PM: I thank the people of Karnataka for giving this mandate to the Bhartiya Janata Party. Congress is trying to come to power through back door, people will not tolerate this: BS Yeddyurappa
#04:02 PM: The people have rejected the Congress and accepted BJP. People are moving towards "Congress Mukt" Karnataka. Despite being rejected Congress is trying to grab power: Yeddyurappa
#03:30 PM: CM Siddaramaiah enters the Governor's house in Bengaluru.
#03:20 PM: JD-S had always maintained that HD Kumaraswamy will be CM. As per results, we're doing everything to keep BJP out of power. Congress has extended its support, we have accepted it. We will jointly go to meet Governor after 5.30 pm today: Danish Ali, JD-S.
#03:15 PM: Bengaluru: A Congress delegation led by G Parameshwara, who had gone to the Governor's House, did not get entry, turned back.
#03:00 PM: We had a telephonic conversation with Deve Gowda ji & Kumaraswamy. They have accepted our offer. Hopefully, we will be together: Ghulam Nabi Azad
# 02:58 PM: We accept the mandate of the people. We bow our heads to the verdict. We don’t have numbers to form govt. The Congress has offered to support JD(S) to form govt: Congress
# 02:45 PM: CM Siddaramaiah to meet the Governor of Karnataka today at 4 pm.
# 02:32 PM: The win in Karnataka is dedicated to all party workers. I also congratulate the people of Karnataka: UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Karnataka Election Results.
# 02:10 PM: Congress is in alliance talks with JD(S). Likely to offer CM seat to Kumaraswamy, according to News Nation sources.
# 01:50 PM: BJP CM Candidate BS Yeddyurappa wins from Shikaripura seat by 35,397 votes.
# 01:36 PM: Many Congress people have won the election, you cannot write-off the Congress. It is, maybe, a set back for Congress, we will find out what is the cause of the setback, says Karnataka Minister KJ George on Karnataka Election Results 2018.
# 12:59 PM: Rahul bhai is a leader in the ascent. 2019 will be a different ball game, says Navjot Singh Sidhu on the Karnataka Elections Result 2018.
Rahul bhai is a leader in the ascent. 2019 will be a different ball game. The alliances are coming with him. Sidhu unke (Rahul Gandhi) saath khada rahega, jab tak mere andar lahu hai: Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Minister on Karnataka election pic.twitter.com/gg1dcbdgJJ— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
# 12:51 PM: This is the third straight defeat of Rahul Gandhi since he became Congress President, says Rajyavardhan Rathore on Karnataka Elections Result 2018.
# 12:44 PM: BJP Parliamentary Board to meet today at 6 pm at party headquarters in Delhi.
# 12:36 PM: I would like to thank the people of Karnataka for this mandate. Also, credit goes to the hard work of PM Modi and Amit Shah ji, as well as state leadership, party workers and RSS cadre. BJP's southward march has begun: BJP's Ram Madhav on Karnataka Elections 2018.
# 12:23 PM: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy burst into laughter when he was asked about Congress raising questions on EVMs during Karnataka Elections 2018.
# 11:42 AM: People of Karnataka want good governance, that is why they have chosen BJP. This is a big victory for the party. Congress is losing state after state and we are winning state after state, says BJP Karnatak-in-charge Prakash Javadekar.
# 11:30 AM: Congress concedes defeat: Rahul Gandhi did his best, but it is we who have lost the elections. We, the local leadership, should have en-cashed it in a proper way and because of which we lost it, says Karnataka minister DK Shivkumar on Karnataka Elections Result 2018.
# 11:22 AM: BJP's victory celebration: BJP workers celebrate outside party office in #Delhi as trends show the party is set to win.
#10: 40 AM: BJP crosses 112 majority mark: The BJP today looked on course to cross the majority mark in Karnataka Assembly and the party was leading in 121 constituencies, according to trends.
#10:30 AM: Saffron surge in South India as BJP crosses majority mark. The saffron party is leading currently leading in 117 seats. The Congress is ahead in 61 seats. JD(S) gains big and the party is leading in 42 seats.
#10:25 AM: Sensex soars over 400 points as BJP leads in Karnataka polls: Benchmark Sensex on Tuesday zoomed over 400 points in the opening trades after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the lead in Karnataka Assembly election results.
#10:23 AM: Official Election Commission Trends: BJP takes lead on 95 seats, Congress ahead on 46, JD(S) on 37, Others 03.
#10:20 AM: CM Siddaramaiah is trailing from Chamundeshwari by over 12,000 votes, JD(S) GT Deve Gowda leading. Siddaramaiah leading in Badami by over 160 votes.
#10:15 AM: BJP workers celebrate outside party office in Bengaluru as trends show the party leading.
#10:10 AM: Correct position will be known at 11-11.30 am. I am going to discuss it (possibility of an alliance with JDS) with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot: Mallikarjun Kharge
Correct position will be known at 11-11.30 am. I am going to discuss it( possibility of alliance with JDS) with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot.: Mallikarjun Kharge,Congress #KarnatakaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/vvUqunzVA6— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#10:05 AM: There is no question of alliance(with JDS) as we are already crossing 112 seats: Sadananda Gowda
#09:48 AM: Official EC trends: BJP leading on 73 seats, Congress on 40, JD(S) ahead on 25 seats, Others 03
#09:45 AM: Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar leading over JDS's Narayana Gowda by 2729 votes from Kanakpura.
#09:40 AM: JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy leading over the Congress candidate Iqbal Hussain by over 7000 votes in Ramanagara, he is also leading from Channapatna.
#09:30 AM: BJP inching towards majority: In a significant development, the BJP is moving towards a clear majority. The party is currently leading in 105 seats while the Congress' lead reduced to 70 seats.
# 09:20 AM: Official EC trends: BJP leading on 58 seats,Congress leading on 27 seats, JDS on 24 and others on 3 seats
#09:15 AM: For Congress, all options open: "These are initial trends, we hope Congress will form the Govt in Karnataka and are confident of it, but yes all options (allying with JD-S) are open," says Ashok Gehlot.
#09:10 AM: As News Nation exit poll survey predicted, Karnataka moving towards a hung Assembly with BJP emerging as the single largest party and the Congress close second. JD-S is likely to play the 'kingmaker'.
#09:05 AM: As early trends show Congress trailing in Karnataka, party's senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad met JD(S) chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.
#08:55 AM: BJP's CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa offered prayers, earlier today, on counting day for Karnataka Elections 2018
#08:50 AM: Karnataka Elections 2018 official EC trends: BJP leading in 10 seats, Congress leading in 5 seats, JD-S in 1 and others in 1
#08: 40 AM: Watch now: Fastest and accurate results of Karnataka Assembly election on News Nation.
#08:30 AM: While BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa is leading from Shikaripur seat. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is trailing from both seats - Badami and Chamundeshwari.
#08:20 AM: EVMs opens across counting centres in Karnataka. Visuals from a counting centre in Kalaburagi's Afzalpur.
#08:15 AM: Region-wise early trends:
Central Karnataka (35 seats): BJP 2, Cong 2, JDS+ 4, Others 0
Hyderabad Karnataka (31 seats): BJP 2, Cong 3, JDS+ 0, Others 0
Mumbai Karnataka (50 seats): BJP 4, Cong 5, JDS+ 1, Others 0
Coastal Karnataka (21 seats): BJP 2, Cong 1, JDS+ 0, Others 0
South Karnataka (55 seats): BJP 2, Cong 4, JDS+ 0, Others 0
Greater Bengaluru (30 seats): BJP 3, Cong 3, JDS+ 0, Others 0
# 08:10 AM: Congress ahead in early trends, BJP close second, JD(S) distant third.
# 08:00 AM: Counting of votes for Karnataka Elections 2018 begins, postal ballots to be counted first.
# 07:50 AM: Bellary: BJP's B Sriramalu prays ahead of counting of votes. He is contesting against CM Siddaramaiah from Badami constituency.
# 07: 40 AM: Let seniors take a call on alliance: Congress candidate from Varuna and son of CM Siddaramaiah Yathindra spoke about the results and a possible tie-up with the JDS. He said, "Senior party leaders will decide on this, but we are confident and hope to form Government on our own."
# 07: 35 AM: JDS's HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math in Nagamangala ahead of counting of votes for Karnataka Elections 2018. Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara and Channapatna constituencies.
JDS's HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math in Nagamangala ahead of counting of votes for #KarnatakaElections2018 . Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara and Channapatna constituencies pic.twitter.com/3usqTFsRch— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#07:30 AM: 11,000 police personnel, 1 Rapid Action Force (RAF) company & 20 Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) companies have been deployed across Bengaluru today ahead of counting of votes for Karnataka Elections 2018.
11,000 police personnel, 1 Rapid Action Force (RAF) company & 20 Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) companies have been deployed across Bengaluru today ahead of counting of votes for #KarnatakaElections2018; #Visuals from a counting center (Maharani College) pic.twitter.com/HzwPjHm4Qg— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2018
#07:20 AM: Hello and welcome to the News Nation live updates. The fate of Congress' Siddaramaiah and BJP's BS Yeddyurappa will be decided today as counting of votes is being held in 38 centers spread across 33 states. Both the BJP and the Congress are claiming victory but exit polls predicted a hung Assembly. It would interesting to see whether the Congress retains it last stronghold or the BJP makes entry to the south.
(With inputs from agencies)