The BJP appeared headed for a spectacular win in Karnataka, as trends showed it led in 24 of the 28 total Lok Sabha seats,leaving the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance in a tizzy with worries over its stability.
Reflecting the coalition's woes, stalwarts Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Gulbarga and former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda in Tumkur were trailing their BJP rivals, Election Commision trends showed.
Congress was ahead in two seats and JD(S) in one, with trends available so far indicating that neither arithmetic nor chemistry worked for the two parties which apparently failed to reconcile with each other at the ground level. An Independent candidate was leading in Mandya.
Gowda was trailing by a margin of 28,499 votes in Tumkur, against BJP's G S Basavaraj. Kharge, a veteran Congressman who has never tasted electoral defeat, was trailing by 73,867 votes against BJP's Umesh Jadhav, who resigned as MLA and joined the saffron party ahead of the elections.
Gowda's grandson and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil was trailing against independent candidate- Sumalatha Ambareesh, supported by the BJP, by 25,785 votes in the bitterly fought Mandya constituency. Gowda's other grandson Prajwal Revanna, son of minister H D Revanna, was leading in Hassan against A Manju of the BJP by a margin of 1,42,123 votes.
Gowda had shifted to Tumkur from his traditional bastion Hassan to make way for his grandson. Senior Congress leaders Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa were also trailing against BJP candidates in Chikkaballapur and Kolar by 1,78,575 votes and 1,98,555 votes respectively. Union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda (Bangalore North), Ramesh Jigajinagi (Bijapur) and Ananthkumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada) were leading over their opponents by comfortable margins.
Other BJP candidates who were maintaining leads were Bache Gowda (Chikkaballapur), Annasaheb Jolle (Chikkodi), Tejavi Surya (Bangalore South), Bhagwanth Khuba (Bidar), A Narayanaswamy (Chitradurga), Nalin Kumar Kateel (Dakshina Kannada), G M Siddeshwar (Davangere), P C Mohan (Bangalore Central) and Prathap Simha (Mysore).
Also leading BJP candidates were Pralhad Joshi in Dharwad, C S Udasi from Haveri, Muniswamy from Kolar, Karadi Snaganna from Koppal, B Y Raghavendra from Shimoga, Gaddigoudar Parvatagouda Chandanagouda from Bagalkot, Suresh Angadi from Belgaum and Devendrappa from Bellary.
Congres candidates leading are D K Suresh from Bangalore Rural and Dhruvanarayan from Chamarajanagar. The Lok Sabha poll outcome is widely expected to have a bearing on the stability of the one-year old H D Kumaraswamy government, which has been bogged down by inner contradictions within the coalition, keeping the state in political turmoil.
The coalition government is also living in constant fear of losing the support of its MLAs, against BJP's alleged bid to topple the government. BJP has been claiming that 20 MLAs within the ruling coalition were ready to jump ship post-Lok Sabha poll outcome, which has put the government on the edge and made it struggle to keep its flock in tact.