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LIVE! Kumaraswamy will be CM, says Siddaramaiah

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May 15, 2018

23:27  Kumaraswamy will be CM, says Siddaramaiah:  H D Kumaraswamy would be the chief minister of the Janata Dal-Secular-led government supported by the Congress, outgoing chief minister Siddaramaiah said today after a meeting between the two parties over a power deal.

Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy also dismissed reports that a section of MLAs of their parties were unhappy over their joining hands in government formation.

"We have decided that Kumaraswamy will be the chief minister," he told reporters after leaders of the two parties met at a hotel in Bengaluru.

Siddaramaiah said the two parties had the numbers. "We are 117 together," he added.

Asked about reports of dissension among some Congress MLAs over the two parties coming together, he dismissed it as 'a baseless rumour'.

Kumaraswamy said there was no revolt by MLAs in his party also.

Defending the Congress and JDS coming together, he said it had been done to 'save secular forces' in the country. On the Congress having described the JD-S as the 'B team' of the BJP, Kumaraswamy said, 'several criticisms will be there during elections'.  -- PTI
23:25  Journalist, author Tom Wolfe dies at 88:  Tom Wolfe, the innovative journalist and author who wrote such best-selling masterpieces as Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff has passed away, CNN reported.

Wolfe, 87, had been hospitalized with an infection according to his agent Lynn Nesbit, who confirmed his passing.

The New York Times wrote for Wolfe, 'In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Mr Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism.

'But as an unabashed contrarian, he was almost as well known for his attire as his satire. He was instantly recognisable as he strolled down Madison Avenue -- a tall, slender, blue-eyed, still boyish-looking man in his spotless three-piece vanilla bespoke suit, pinstriped silk shirt with a starched white high collar, bright handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket, watch on a fob, faux spats and white shoes.'   -- Agencies

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
23:06  West Bengal panchayat polls: SEC orders re-poll in 568 booths tomorrow:  The West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) today ordered re-polling in 568 booths tomorrow following complaints of violence during the pancahayat polls held yesterday.

"We have ordered repolling in 568 booths spread across 20 districts of the state," an SEC official said.

Widespread violence during the panchayat polls in West Bengal on Monday left at least 12 people dead and 43 injured.

The state government and the police have been asked to make elaborate security arrangements so that polling can be held in a free and fair manner, the SEC official said.

Re-polling has been ordered in 10 booths in Hooghly, 28 booths in West Midnapore, 52 booths in Coochbehar, 63 booths in Murshidabad, 60 booths in Nadia, 59 booths in North 24 Parganas, 55 booths in Malda, 73 booths in Uttar Dinajpur, 26 in South 24 Pargans, among others.

The SEC official also said that the final voting percentage of yesterday had gone up to 82.13 per cent from 73 per cent.

Opposition parties have accused the TMC of 'unleashing a reign of terror and destroying democracy'. The TMC, however, has termed the allegations as 'baseless'.

Aggrieved by the violence that marked yesterday's panchayat polls in West Bengal, several candidates who were in the fray met SEC officials and demanded re-polling in their booths.

"I have come here to inform the SEC about yesterday's violence in my locality. Free and fair election did not take place in my area," said Etajul, an independent candidate from Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district.

Candidates from political parties also met the SEC officials to request repoll in their seats.

Various non-political organizations conducted sit-in demonstrations outside the SEC office today in protest against yesterday's violence.  -- PTI
22:35  If Guv invites BJP, it would mean inviting horse trading: Azad:  Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said if the Karnataka governor invites the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government, it would mean that he was 'openly inviting horse trading, corruption and defection in the parties'.

Speaking to reporters after meeting governor Vajubhai Vala, Azad said the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular have adequate numbers to form the government and that the coalition would provide a stable government.

"Should honourable governor invite BJP that means you are openly inviting horse trading, inviting defection in the parties and under the constitution, as the head of the state of Karnataka, you should not..." Azad said.

The Congress leader said the BJP laying claim to form the government for being the single largest party holds no good.

"Because there is Supreme Court judgment in the case of Goa wherein the Congress emerged as the single largest party, but the BJP in coalition with small parties was able to show the adequate numbers," he said.

"The court held that it was not necessary that the single largest party can claim if a group of parties have adequate numbers to be sworn-in," Azad said.

He said the Congress-JD-S coalition government would provide 'a stable government without poaching into the premises of any other political party'.

He said the Congress and the JD-S have submitted separate letters to Vala.

While the Congress letter is about extending support to JD-S, the JD-S has stated in its letter that it has got support of the Congress and therefore, its leadership should be invited to form the government, he added.  -- PTI
21:48  Will request Guv tomorrow to allow us to form govt: Yeddyurappa:  Bharatiya Janata Party's Karnataka chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa says, "Tomorrow at 10.30 am in BJP legislative party meeting, I am going to be elected as party leader. After that all MLAs are going to meet the Governor to request him to allow the BJP to form a government. Now the ball is in the court of the Governor. We will do as he decides."

Meanwhile, Janata Dal-Secular's H D Kumaraswamy and H D Deve Gowda are meeting senior Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, D K Shivakumar and Mallikarjun Kharge in Bengaluru's Ashoka Hotel.  -- ANI
21:01  Will fight for you: Rahul tells Karnataka voters:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi today thanked the people of Karnataka who voted for the party, saying it will fight for them.

He also praised the party workers and leaders for their dedication and hard work in the Karnataka assembly elections.

'A big thank you to all those who voted for the Congress in these elections. We appreciate your support and will fight for you.

'Thank you also to our workers and leaders for their dedication and untiring hard work in support of the party,' he said on Twitter.  -- PTI
20:33  BJP's victory in Karnataka is 'exceptional, unprecedented': PM:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi terms the Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in Karnataka elections is exceptional, unprecedented.

"They say BJP is a party of Hindi speaking states. Are Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra states in North East Hindi speaking states? No, BJP represents India. There was no barrier between people of Karnataka and  me. I'll always cherish the affection I received from them," Modi said at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

Referring to violence during the panchayat polls in West Bengal, PM Modi siad, "People weren't allowed to file nominations. It isn't only BJP people who suffered. People from all the leading parties except the one that rules Bengal suffered. This is serious. A land as great as West Bengal has to see such sights, it is unfortunate."

Modi credited BJP's back to back victories to party chief Amit Shah.
Attacking the Congress, the PM said, "A party which remained at the center and in several states for so many years tried to hurt the federalism of the country due to its vote bank politics."

20:12  No stopping for BJP's victory chariot: Amit Shah :  
Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah today said that there will be no stopping for party's victory chariot after the party became the single largest party in the Karnataka elections. 

"Yeh vijay ka rath rukne wala nahi hai, (no stopping this victory chariot)," he said at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

Attacking the Congress he said, "The Congress used money and muscle power in Karnataka but it was rejected by people of the state."

'The Congress used politics of caste to divide people and tried to incite Dalits on SC/ST Act in Karnataka," he said. 

"In 2019, we will not only form the government under the leadership of Modi but also form a New India in 2022," Shah added. 
19:38  Varanasi flyover collapse: UP govt gives Rs 5 lakh to kin of dead:   "I express grief over the incident. My condolence to the affected families. I have sent deputy CM and minister Neelkanth Tiwari to the spot. Have formed a committee to look into the incident and report in 48 hours," UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Varanasi flyover collapse.

"Five teams of NDRF (250 jawans) with full equipment rushed to the spot in Varanasi. Compensation of Rs 5 lakh will be given to the kin of those dead and Rs 2 lakh to seriously injured in the incident," he said.
19:30  UP govt monitoring the situation: PM on Varanasi flyover collapse:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacts to Varanasi flyover collapse incident.

'Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected,' he tweeted.

'I spoke to UP CM Yogi Adityanath ji regarding the situation due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. The UP government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected,' tweets PM Modi.
19:03  12 dead as under construction flyover collapses in Varanasi:   More than 12 people are feared dead and several trapped as a portion of an under construction flyover has collapsed in Varanasi's Cantt area.

"Deputy chief minister K P Maurya and Minister Neelkanth Tiwari have been directed by the CM to go to Varanasi's Cantt area. The CM expressed grief and directed the administration to speed up rescue operations," UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh said.

The flyover was being constructed right in front of the city's main railway station and inter-state bus terminal. The area is crowded and is also part of the main route to Varanasi airport.  -- with ANI inputs
18:52  PM Modi thanks Karnataka voters :  
I thank my sisters and brothers of Karnataka for steadfastly supporting the BJP's development agenda and making BJP the single largest party in the state. I salute the stupendous work of @BJP4Karnataka Karyakartas who toiled round the clock and worked for the party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets. 
18:20  Kerala invites K'taka MLAs to unwind in God's Own Country:  No wonder the Kerala tourism board is such a success story. Not just witty, but timely too.

This is what @KeralaTourism just tweeted: After the rough and tumble of the #KarnatakaVerdict, we invite all the MLAs to unwind at the safe & beautiful resorts of God's Own Country. #ComeOutAndPlay
18:14  BJP won't succeed this time, says Cong-JDS staking claim :  Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy addressing a joint press conference after meeting Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhawan.

Siddaramaiah spoke first saying the Congress-JDS have staked claim to form government in Karnataka. He said the JDS will form government with Congress support and they have informed the governor about their decision. He said they should be legally allowed to form government since they have the numbers.  "BJP won't succeed this time," he said.

Kumaraswamy speaking now says Congress has extended support to the party. 
17:54  BJP Parliamentary Board to meet at 7 pm at party headquarters in Delhi today.
17:54  M Veerappa Moily, Congress, says the JD(S) & Congress have enough numbers to form the government. BJP cannot form the government without the numbers.

17:52  Kumaraswamy inside Raj Bhawan to stake claim:  (Lto R) Mallikarjuna Kharge, HD Kumaraswamy, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Siddaramaiah at Raj Bhawan to stake their claim to form government. Siddaramaiah, who submitted his resignation to the governor, sits a seat away from Azad, looking distinctly unhappy. 

Just half an hour ago, BS Yeddyurappa accompanied by Ananth Kumar and
Rajeev Chandresekhar met the governor and asked to be given seven days time to prove their majority in the House.
17:44  Kumaraswamy inside Raj Bhawan to stake claim :  HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, DK Shivakumar and other Congress MLAs inside the Raj Bhawan.
17:38  Kumaraswamy enters Raj Bhawan:  JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy is now inside the Raj Bhawan to meet the governor.

Danish Ali, National General Secretary, JDS, tells NDTV his sources have said that the Centre has instructed the Karnataka governor to accept the BJP's stake to form government.

After meeting the governor, Yeddyurappa addressing the press said, "Just now we met the Governor because we are the single largest party, and that he allows us to prove a majority in the Assembly."
17:32  HD Kumaraswamy has reached Raj Bhawan to stake claim.
17:27  Yeddyurappa asks guv for 7 days to prove majority:   BS Yeddyurappa , Ananth Kumar, Shobha Karandlaje & Rajeev Chandrasekhar have entered Raj Bhavan. Local media says Yeddyurappa has asked the governor for seven days to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

HD Kumaraswamy's meeting with the governor is at 5: 30 pm.

A decision on who the governor will invite is pending.
17:16  Subhash Kashyap, Constitutional expert on the governor could do: "It is up to 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." 
17:14  Yeddyurappa reaches Raj Bhawan:  Just in: BJP's chief ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar reach Raj Bhawan to stake claim. "100 percent we will form the government," says Yeddyurappa.

His appointment with the governor Vajubhai Vala is at 5 pm, well past the time. At 5:30 pm, the governor will meet Kumaraswamy.

Cliffhanger of an election.
17:10  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.
16:59  Yeddy to meet guv at 5 pm:  BS Yeddyurappa to meet the governor at 5 pm. That's a 30 minute head start from the Kumaraswamy's meeting, who is now his way to the governor house.
16:53  Cong collars independent MLAs:   DK Shivakumar, Congress, with one of the two independent MLAs and speaks to ANI saying, "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."

The Congress has said both the independent MLAs will be supporting the Congress.
16:33  JDS's Kumaraswamy writes to guv seeking appointment:  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." He seeks an appointment with Governor Vajubhai Vala between 5:30 pm and 6 pm today.

Image: HD Kumaraswamy waving to the crowds from Deve Gowda's home.
16:29   Congress trying to come to power through back door: Yeddy:  BJP's CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa addresses the media in Bengaluru.

"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.  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.  We will decide the future course of action after consulting leadership," Yeddyurappa said.  
16:17  Siddaramaiah submits his resignation to the Governor of Karnataka.
16:10  Omar Abdullah  @OmarAbdullah Right now I wish I owned a resort around Bangalore somewhere.
16:08  House full:  Karnataka waits outside JDS chief Deve Gowda's residence in Bengaluru. 
16:06  Yeddy: Cong trying to grab power despite rejection:  BJP's CM candidate for Karnataka BS Yeddyurapa addressing a press conference on the trends/results. He says the Congress is trying grab power despite the rejection.
15:58  Cong, JDS to meet governor at 5:30 pm:  JD(S) leader Danish Ali on the alliance: The JDS 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.

The governor is likely to wait for the final results and not just the leads before he meets the Congress, JDS.
15:50  Cong delegation refused entry to meet K'taka governor :  A harbinger of things to come? A Congress delegation led by G Parameshwara, who had gone to the Governor's House, did not get entry. He was turned back.

Meanwhile, top BJP leaders JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar are going to Bengaluru today.

Saravana, JD(S) MLC, says, the cup will be ours. "Wait & watch," he says.
The two independent MLAs are going to go with the Cong+JDS.

Reports also say TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati has also called up Deve Gowda. 

Tally now: BJP: 106, Cong: 77, JDS: 37, Others: 2

The Cong+JDS+Independents puts the tally at 116, past the 112 magic figure. 

15:36  Reports say the two independent candidates will go with the Congress.
15:31  Cong, JDS to meet governor this evening to stake claim :   Can the Congress snatch victory from the BJP? All depends on whether Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala will invite Congress+JDS to stake claim to form government.

But remember, Vala is a former Gujarat BJP leader who had once vacated his seat for Narendra Modi and later served as Finance Minister in CM Modi's cabinet.

Congress senior Ghulam Nabi Azad and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah confirms that the party had a telephonic conversation with JDS chief Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy offering unconditional support.

"They have accepted our offer. Hopefully, we will be together," Azad said.

Siddaramaih said he accepts the mandate of the people. "We bow our heads to the verdict. We don't have numbers to form govt." he said.

The Congress said the party would meet the governor this evening. Reports say that Deve Gowda wants the Congress to join government and has offered the deputy CM's post to the party, with the JDS bagging the CM's post.

With the BJP leading in 107 seats, it falls clear short of a majority. The Congress is at 74, the JDS at 39, which together make 113, just past the magic figure of 112. But these numbers are changing even as you read this.

Also read: Karnataka poll: I will be 'king', not 'kingmaker', says Kumaraswamy

Image: JDS chief Deve Gowda's son HD Kumaraswamy
14:50  Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah to meet the governor at 4 pm today to submit his resignation.
14:47  @rahulkanwal Sonia Gandhi reaches out to Deve Gowda through Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress offers CMship to JDS. This would be pathetic. BJP won fair and square. Sneaking in from the back door would be a negation of the mandate.

Omar Abdullah responds: @OmarAbdullah What about the other states where BJP sneaked in through the back door? Whats sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander Rahul, no?
14:41  Omar Abdullah @OmarAbdullah it's not over till someone sings #Karnataka
14:26  Sonia Gandhi offers CM chair to Kumaraswamy: Reports :  Just in: Reports say the Congress has approached JDS to cobble together an alliance if the BJP fails to reach the halfway mark. The JDS has accepted the Congress party's offer that HD Kumaraswamy be the CM candidate, say reports.

Reports say that Sonia Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad have spoken to JDS chief Deve Gowda. 

Even before the leads suggested a Congress rout, senior leader Mallikarjuna Kharge suggested this morning, that the party was open to an alliance with the JDS.

The JDS has been non-committal about the BJP as well as Congress. Siddaramaiah's willingness to step down from the CM's post could be a decider for Deve Gowda to extend his support to the Congress. The JDS has said it is the Congress's "responsibility" to reach out if it did not get majority.

The leads so far: BJP: 106, Cong: 73, JDS: 41, Others: 2
14:09  Will tell Rahulji my every breath is for Punjab: Sidhu:   Hours after Supreme Court spared him a jail term in a 1988 road rage case, Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today said that the almighty has always helped him tide over difficult circumstances.

Sidhu will not have to go to jail as the Supreme Court held him guilty only of causing hurt and let him off with a fine of Rs 1,000. Speaking to media  after the apex court spared him the jail term in the 30-year-old road rage case, Sidhu said, "the almighty has always helped him tide over difficult circumstances. It is the grace of God which has helped me through trying times."

The Supreme Court today convicted Sidhu for voluntarily causing hurt to a 65-year-old man but spared him a jail term in the 1988 road rage case. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said Sidhu was guilty of Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and was fined Rs 1,000 for the offence.

After the verdict, Sidhu's supporters and party workers were in a jubilant mood and burst firecrackers outside his residence in Amritsar.  Sidhu said that "today it is not the time to point fingers at anyone...when you are on the side of the truth, there is no need to worry". Sidhu said that he will be meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and thanking them for supporting him during difficult times. "I will tell Rahul ji that my life and my every breath is for people of Punjab... I also spoke to Chief Minister and he congratulated me. I told him that my life is for Punjab... and till the time I do not see the state achieve its best, I will not even die," he said. Like Sidhu, his wife Navjot Kaur also looked visibly relieved after the Supreme Court verdict. -- PTI
13:58  BJP CM Candidate BS Yeddyurappa wins from Shikaripura seat by 35,397 votes.
13:52   BJP CM Candidate BS Yeddyurappa wins from Shikaripura seat by 35,397 votes.
13:47   Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appointed as an eminent jurist in the Lokpal selection committee, Centre tells the Supreme Court. A decision was taken on May 11 to appoint Rohatgi in the Lokpal selection committee.
13:42  Bharatmata, Narendra Modi chants resound at BJP HQ:   BJP workers across Karnataka today began celebrations as trends showed the saffron party was set to form a government in the state. Counting of votes for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections began this morning at 38 centres in the state.

Sweets and delicacies were distributed among boisterous party workers and supporters who gathered at the state BJP headquarters in Bengaluru and its offices across Karnataka, including those in Kalaburagi, Hubbali-Dharwad, Mangaluru and Shivamogga.

This morning the mood was quite different with BJP workers anxious as several poll surveys and exit polls had predicted a hung house with some giving an edge to the ruling Congress.

But the mood turned jubilant as results trickled in with the BJP maintaining a steady lead, leaving its main opponent, the Congress, far behind. Party workers danced to music and raised slogans such as "Bharat Mata ki Jai", "Narendra Modi Ki Jai" and "BJP Ki Jai".

The Congress headquarters in Bengaluru, bore a deserted look, as the party found itself lagging in all regions of the state. The BJP appeared headed for a simple majority in the Karnataka elections, with its candidates leading in 108 assembly seats, leaving the ruling Congress at 73 in the latest trends available for 220 of the state's 222 seats where polling was held.

Polling for R R Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate. PTI
13:39   Tamil Nadu Dy CM O Paneerselvam tweets: @OfficeOfOPS On this cheerful occasion, I wish to express my warm greetings and felicitations for the significant victory of BJP in Karnataka Assembly Elections, bellwethering a grand entry to South India. @AmitShah
12:58   Mehbooba congratulates BJP for its 'stellar performance':  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today congratulated the BJP for its "stellar performance" in Karnataka assembly elections. "Hearty congratulations to @BJP4India for their stellar performance in Karnataka," Mehbooba said in a tweet. The BJP appeared headed for a simple majority in the Karnataka Assembly, with its candidates leading in 106 constituencies, leaving the ruling Congress way behind, according to the latest trends available for 220 of the state's 222 seats where polling was held. -- PTI
12:56  If opposition unites India's filth can be removed at one go: BJP minister:  Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore: "This is the third straight defeat of Rahul Gandhi since he became President. He declared himself the PM candidate. Now if all opposition wants to unite toh hamare liye bhi ye theek hai, ki desh ki jitni gandagi hai vo ek saath hate."
12:51  BJP Parliamentary Board to meet at 6 pm at party headquarters in Delhi today.
12:50  Our southward march has begun: BJP:   More reactions from the BJP, spokesperson and general secretary Ram Madhav: I would like to thank the people of Karnataka for this mandate. Also, credit goes to the hard work of PM Modi and Amit Shahji, as well as state leadership, party workers and RSS cadre. BJP's southward march has begun.
12:45  Time for Cong to change its name:Chouhan on K'taka poll trends:  With the BJP leading in the Karnataka polls, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today took potshots at the Congress saying it is time for the party to change its name from INC to 'Congress (PMP)' - implying the only three places where it is in power now.

According to the Election Commission figures, the BJP is ahead in over 112 seats and appears set for getting a majority in the Karnataka Assembly.

Reacting to it, Chouhan said the Indian National Congress (INC) should now change its name. "With this #KarnatakaVerdict it's time for Congress to change its name from Indian National Congress to Congress (PMP) Congress - Punjab, Mizoram, Puducherry," Chouhan said in a tweet. Polling in Karnataka was held for 222 of the 224 Assembly seats on May 12. In the outgoing Assembly, the Congress had 122 seats, the BJP and the JD(S) 40 each, and smaller parties and independents 22 seats. -- PTI
12:36  Why a BJP win is important for investors :  Global investors have priced in a "Modi win in 2019", and the government may consider various stimulus options to support the rural economy in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections next year, says a UBS report.

"Our discussions with investors and the market's multiples suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning 2019 is being priced in," UBS Securities Head of India Research Gautam Chhaochharia and Analyst Sanjena Dadawala said in a research note. It further noted the government may consider various stimulus options to support the rural economy ahead of the general elections.

The note was published last week ahead of the counting of votes in the Karnataka elections. According to the global brokerage, measures like minimum support price hikes, price deficiency payment to farmers (done by Madhya Pradesh) and income support to farmers (done by Telangana), may be considered by the government.

Other potential ways could be through an interest rate subsidy, including zero-interest loans for farmers. The report further noted that though the first 3-3.5 years of the Modi government saw a number of reforms and politically tough steps like demonetisation, GST implementation, bankruptcy code, the run-up to elections is unlikely to see any big bang measures.

The government's political economy stance into the elections will be a key driver of sector/stock relative performance and rural-exposed stocks should continue to do well, irrespective of whether the rural/agri tilt is "real or just rhetoric".

The report however noted that any major populism/stimulus would likely drive bond yields higher and possibly hurt the currency.-- PTI
12:30  Swamy guffaws at possibility of EVM tampering :  BJP MP Subramanian Swamy's reaction when asked about the Congress raising questions on EVMs in the Karnataka elections.

This is what Congress leader Mohan Prakash said today: "I am saying it from day 1, there is no political party in India which has not raised questions on EVMs, even BJP has done it in the past. Now when all parties are doubting EVMs then what problem does the BJP have in conducting polls through ballot?"
12:17  BJP reacts to K'taka win: People rejected Cong's divisive agenda :  With the BJP set for an impressive win in the Karnataka assembly poll, its leaders described the victory as an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda and claimed that people have rejected divisive, toxic and negative agenda of the Congress.

The BJP is heading in over 112 seats and appears set for getting a majority. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying somebody was dreaming of becoming prime minister, a reference to Gandhi's statement during the Karnataka poll campaign that he was ready for the job if his party emerged victorious in the next Lok Sabha elections. His cabinet colleague Nirmala Sitharaman said it is an historic day for the party and the win was an endorsement of Modi's development agenda. People have rejected divisive, toxic and negative politics of the Congress, she said. People, however, went for Modi's development agenda, she added.

Prakash Javadekar, another Union minister who was also in charge of the state's election, said the BJP won because it is a party of the masses while the Congress is a party of a dynasty.

"This is a victory of Modi and party president Amit Shah's strategy," he said. Polling in Karnataka was held for 222 of the 224 Assembly seats on May 12. Polling for R R Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate. PTI

Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nirmala Sitharaman celebrate the party's win. Pic: ANI
11:54  Sidhu found guilty in road rage case :   Update: Supreme Court convicts Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu under section 323 and acquitted under section 304( (II) in 1988 road rage case.  Sidhu was acquitted under section 304 (II){culpable homicide not amounting to murder} and convicted under section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) in 1988 road rage case by Supreme Court.
11:50  People of Karnataka want good governance: Javadekar :  First reactions of the BJP's win in Karnataka.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: Congratulations to the winners of the Karnataka elections. For those who lost, fight back. If Congress had gone into an alliance with the JD(S), the result would have been different. Very different.

Prakash Javadekar, BJP Karnataka in-charge: 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.
11:42  Cong leader blames EVMs for K'taka rout :  When you don't win, blame EVMs.

Congress leader Mohan Prakash: I am saying it from day 1, there is no political party in India which has not raised questions on EVMs, even BJP has done it in the past. Now when all parties are doubting EVMs then what problem does the BJP have in conducting polls through ballot?
11:41  BJP all set to form govt in 22nd state:   So, BJP is on its way to form government in the 22nd state with a clear win in Karnataka. Leads right now are: BJP: 114, Congress: 66, JDS: 40. The magic figure is 112 for a 224 seat assembly.

The BJP is not ruling in seven states out of 29: Kerala (CPI-M), Tamil Nadu (AIADMK), Puducherry (Congress), West Bengal (Trinamool Congress), Odisha (BJD), Mizoram (Congress), Punjab (Congress).

This is the first time in the history of India that one single party has helmed the political mandate of the people in so many states.

The Congress at its peak held sway over 18 states in 1994.

Narendra Modi's electoral promise of a Congress-mukt Bharat is more than a possibility with back-to-back wins since its spectacular victory in 2014.

To his credit, Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a strong campaign in Karnataka backed by chief minister Siddaramaiah, but the PM and Amit Shah's blitzkrieg won the day for the BJP.

This was also the first time that Sonia Gandhi joined the campaign trail in two years.
11:13  BJP president Amit Shah will hold a press conference at 3 pm. 
10:47  Party colours at the BJP office in Bengaluru as leads indicate a clear majority for the party in Karnataka. In Delhi, senior leaders will be arriving at the BJP HQ post 1 pm. Buntings and flags are being put up, with caterers bringing in food to be served for the leaders and party workers.  
10:39  K'taka leads: BJP crosses majority mark:  The BJP has crossed the majority mark of 113 with leads in 114 seats, Congress is at 63, with the JDS at 44.  Huge setback for the Congress for the state.

The BJP will hold a meeting of its parliamentary board in the evening. The party has planned huge celebrations to mark its win in Karnataka which coincides with the Modi government's fourth anniversary, say reports.

BJP president Amit Shah will be going to the party HQ in New Delhi at 1 pm.
10:31  Omar Abdullah @OmarAbdullah Et tu #Karnataka.
10:30  Sensex up by over 350 points, currently at 35928.35 as BJP leads in Karnataka, Nifty at 10919.15.
10:19  BJP workers celebrate outside the party office in Bengaluru as trends show the party is leading in Karnataka. 
10:16  No question of alliance with JDS: Sadananda Gowda :  Former Karnataka CM Sadananda Gowda of the BJP, who lives up to his name, says there is no question of an alliance with the JDS as the party is already crossing 112 seats.

Every Congress leader is hinging his hopes on 11am, the time they say before which it is too early to decide which Karnataka has voted.

Veerappa Moily, Ashok Gehlot, refuse to concede defeat.

The leads so far:
BJP: 104
Congress: 71
JDS: 45.

The question now for the BJP is whether it now needs JDS.

10:03  Will discuss alliance with JDS, says Cong's Kharge:  So, the first statement by the Congress indicating they will NOT get a clear majority (113 seats) to retain power in Karnataka.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress, says that while the correct position on who is leading or trailing in the Karnataka polls will be known at around 11.30 am, he will be discussing the  possibility of an alliance with the JDS with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot, both of whom have been flown in to the state today to avoid the debacle that happened in Goa.

In an aside, Kharge's son Priyank Kharge is trailing in Chittapur. 

Leads so far: BJP: 107, Congress: 72, JDS: 40.

If the leads translate into wins, the BJP is likely to cross the 113 mark alone.

09:50  PM's 'threat' that made Manmohan Singh petition President :  Yesterday top Congress leaders led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used "threatening and intimidating' language against them during the Karnataka poll campaign. In a letter to the president, they said the "threat' by Modi to Congress leaders during the poll campaign needs to be condemned as it does not behove of a person holding the position of prime minister to utter such words.

The Congress leaders in their letter referred to Modis May 6 speech in Hubli in Karnataka, in which the PM said, "Congress ke neta kaan kholkar sun lijiye, agar seemaon ko paar karoge, to yeh Modi hai, lene ke dene pad jayenge (Congress leaders should clearly hear out, if you cross limits, then this is Modi and you will have to pay a price)."
09:43  Karnataka winner will win 2019 elections: Ramdev :  A prophecy from Baba Ramdev.

The yoga guru said that winner of Karnataka elections will win the 2019 polls.

Ramdev said, "Karnataka elections will give a new direction to Indian politics. The winner of Karnataka elections will have the capability of winning elections in 2019."

Ruling Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, and Janata Dal (Secular) mainly fought high-profile Karnataka elections, voting for which took place on May 12.

Most exit polls have predicted that former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda led Janata Dal (Secular) will be a kingmaker as there will be a hung assembly.

The Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats and a party or an alliance needs 113-seats to form the government. The Congress had won 122 seats and the BJP 40 seats in the last Karnataka Assembly election in 2013.

Bae-watch: Baba Ramdev with PM Narendra Modi
09:33  Karnataka leads: BJP scrapes ahead of Congress :   So the BJP is leading in 89 seats and the Congress in 76 in the Karnataka Assembly elections as per initial trends available since counting began at 8 am today.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was trailing in the Chamundeshwari seat, official sources said, while he was leading in the Badami seat.

JD(S) was leading in one seat, Ramanagara, where its leader H D Kumaraswamy was ahead by about 1,000 votes.

Leads so far:

BJP: 87
Congress: 83
JDS+ 40

The counting of votes in the May 12 elections to 222 of the 224 assembly constituencies began at 8 am. Polling for R R Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate.
09:10  BJP's CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa offered prayers, earlier today, on counting day for the Karnataka Elections.

Prayers seem to be working, he is leading in Shikaripura. 
09:06  HD Kumaraswamy, JDS, leading over the Congress candidate by 1552 votes in Ramanagara.
09:03  Congress, BJP neck-and-neck in Karnataka :  Karnataka leads
BJP: 72
Congress: 72
JDS+: 32

Neck-and-neck, but remember the figures change as you read this.

This is one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in the recent times, a total of 222 of the 224 seats went for polls involving a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD(S). The polling percentage in the May 12 elections has been put at 72.13 per  cent.

Leads and trails from key leaders in the state.

HD Kumaraswamy, JDS, leads in Ramanagaram and Channapatana
B Sreeramulu of the BJP is trailing from Badami
Siddaramaiah is leading from badami
Priyank Kharge (Mallikarjuna Kharge's son) is trailing from Chittapur
B Sreeramulu, BJP, is leading from Molakalmuru
BS Yeddyurappa, BJP, is leading from Shikaripura
SK Bangarappa, BJP, is trailing from Sorab
Yathindra Siddaramaiah (the CM's son) is leading from Varuna

08:37  Siddaramaiah trailing from Chamundeshwari seat :  Early leads, but Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is currently trailing from the Chamundeshwari seat. The counting in Badami seat, the second constituency that the CM is contesting from, is yet to begin.

A day after exit polls predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka, chief minister Siddaramaiah created ripples by stating that he was ready to step aside if the party leadership wished to replace him with a Dalit.

The forecast of a fractured verdict has raised the possibility of the Janata Dal (S) garnering enough seats for H D Deve Gowda to play king-maker.
Siddaramaiah's statement triggered speculation that Congress is anticipating a fractured verdict and is playing the Dalit card to negotiate a post-poll tie up with the JD(S).
08:28  Baited breath and beating heart over 222 seats :  To bring you up to speed, and do stay with us through the day as we bring you every bit of news on the Karnataka polls, this was one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in the recent times.

A total of 222 of the 224 seats went for polls involving a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD(S).

Why this election is so important for the Congress.
In case of a clear verdict in favour of the Congress, the grand old party will have broken the jinx of no political party retaining the reins of the state since 1985, when the erstwhile Janata Dal formed the government under Ramakrishna Hegde for a second consecutive term.

While a victory would help boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which is on a downhill journey losing state after state since Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre, defeat in Karnataka, the only big state it rules apart from Punjab, may further slowdown the momentum for the party. Losing Karnataka will also drastically weaken its claim for the leadership of a broader anti-BJP alliance that is being talked about.

What this election means for the BJP
In case the BJP gets the mandate, it reflects the enduring charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his capacity to power his party to victory across the country, clearing demographic and topographical obstacles, in combination with party's president Amit Shah's strategy. It would also further galvanise the BJP cadre before the Assembly elections in party-ruled Rajasthan, MadhyaPradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year.
08:19  Party will decide on JDS alliance if at all, says Siddaramaiah's son:  Dr Yathindra, Congress candidate from Varuna and son of CM Siddaramaiah is leading from his constituency. On the possibility of a post poll alliance with JDS he says senior party leaders will decide on this, but the party is confident and hopes to form government on its own. 
08:17  Counting of votes for KarnatakaElections2018 begins, postal ballots to be counted first. Visuals from a strong room (where EVMs & postal ballots are kept) in Kalaburagi's Afzalpur. JD(S) chief ministerial candidate and party chief HD Deve Gowda's son, HD Kumaraswamy is currently leading in Ramanagara Assembly constituency.
08:13  Havan being performed by Congress workers outside the AICC office in Delhi, ahead of counting of votes for Karnataka.
08:11  Bellary: BJP's B Sriramalu prays ahead of counting of votes. He is contesting against CM Siddaramaiah from Badami constituency.
08:10  Security blanket across K'taka :  A thick blanket of security has been put in place across Karnataka to ensure a free and fair counting of votes. The police have banned celebrations, processions and bursting of crackers around the 38 counting centres in the state and deployed additional forces in the area around those centres.

Around the five counting centres in the capital city of Bengaluru, an elaborate three-layer security arrangement has been planned.

The situation around the centre is said to be under control; however, the election-governing body, earlier, noted that a marginal percentage of Electronic Voting Machine and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail failures has been reported. On Saturday, polling took place in 222 out of 224 assembly constituencies spread across 58,546 polling stations. -- ANI
08:04  Kumaraswamy offers prayers ahead of results :  JDS's HD Kumaraswamy offers prayers at Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math in Nagamangala ahead of counting of votes for the Karnataka Elections 2018 . Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara and Channapatna constituencies. He was in Singapore for the past few days. If the exit polls are right, and there is indeed a hung assembly, the JDS is likely to play kingmaker.
08:02  Close fight between BJP, Congress in Karnataka:  Indicating a tight race between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, most exit polls for the Karnataka assembly elections on Saturday forecast a hung assembly with the Janata Dal-Secular likely to play the kingmaker, but were divided on which of the two national parties will emerge as the largest in the House.

This is what the exit polls say
08:00  Decision Karnataka: Counting of votes begins at 8 am amid high security :  The Election Commission will start the counting of votes cast in the Karnataka Assembly elections at 8 am today, the results of which, according to exit polls, are unlikely to deliver a clear majority for the states ruling Congress and challenger Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Security has been beefed up with 50,000 personnel deployed across state

Several exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly. Such an outcome would propel former prime minister HD Deve Gowdas Janata Dal (Secular) into the role of a kingmaker, political commentators say.

In one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in recent times, 222 of the 224 seats in the Karnataka legislative assembly went to the polls on May 12.

Polling for the RR Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in the Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate.

The trends are likely to begin to trickle within an hour and all Karnataka election results are expected to be declared by late evening.

If the results reveal a clear victory for the Congress, the grand old party would have bucked the trend of incumbents being voted out of power since 1985, when the erstwhile Janata Dal formed the government under Ramakrishna Hegde for a second consecutive term.

It is, however, unclear if Siddaramaiah, a backward class leader with a formidable reputation, will be the next chief minister in the event of a Congress victory.

Though the Congress had said he would be its face in the elections, it stopped short of declaring him the partys chief ministerial candidate.

Siddaramaiah caused a political flutter when he said on Monday that he was ready to make way for a Dalit chief minister if the Congress high command so decided, a statement many felt was aimed at keeping the JD(S) in good humour so as to stitch an alliance in case of a fractured mandate.
00:11  Actress Margot Kidder, who played Superman's Lois Lane, dies:  Actress Margot Kidder has died aged 69, media reports say.

She was best known for her role as Lois Lane alongside Christopher Reeve in the Superman series of films in the 1970s and 80s.

A funeral home in Livingston, Montana, where the actress lived, said Kidder died at her home on Sunday, reports the BBC.

The Canadian-born actress was also a political and women's rights activist.

The cause of her death is not yet known.   -- Agencies

Photograph: Reuters

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