The BJP dramatically surged ahead towards the victory mark in the Karnataka Assembly election on Tuesday, leaving the ruling Congress badly bruised and the JD-S at the third spot, officials said.
Reports from counting centres across the southern state showed that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates were on the winning track in 105 constituencies while the Congress was in the lead in 70. A total of 222 constituencies voted on Saturday.
Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly.
The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 43 seats.
As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in their only southern bastion. At the same time, Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.
BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance with the JD-S as his party was headed towards a clear majority.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.
Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was leading in Badami constituency and trailing in Chamundeshwari.
The BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa was on the victory lap in Shikaripura.
"We will win with a majority," said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.
The Congress was open to an alliance with the JD-S, party leader Ashok Gehlot said, as the party's top leaders met in New Delhi.