India’s BJP heads to majority in crucial Karnataka state poll
Election leads from the south Indian state of Karnataka show India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ahead of the Congress party which currently rules the state.
The BJP is ahead in 112 of 216 seats for which leads are available, according to the Election Commission.
The polls are being treated as a bellwether ahead of general elections in 2019.
Analysts believe that a loss would spell disaster for the Congress party.
The party rules only three other states apart from Karnataka while the BJP and its allies are in power in 22 of India’s 29 states.
The BJP’s performance has defied exit poll results which predicted a hung assembly. It needs to win 112 seats to form the government.
The Congress is leading in 63 seats, while the regional Janata Dal (Secular), is ahead in 38 seats.
More than 72% of the voters cast their ballots for 222 seats on Saturday.
Counting of votes began early Tuesday morning. The final verdict is expected later in the day.
Karnataka is the hub of India’s information technology industry and has a population of 64 million.