The counting of votes for Karnataka Assembly election is underway right now, and according to the Election Commission of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading on 109 seats while Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) are ahead on 64 seats on 48 seats, respectively. In a couple of hours, it would be clear who's going to win the Karnataka Assembly polls, though exit poll surveys have predicted a hung assembly in the state. A fact that has emerged as a talking point in this Assembly election in Karnataka is that this was the "costliest state election" with total spending of around Rs 10,500 crore. Total 5.06 crore - around 72.13 per cent of people - had voted in the Karnataka Assembly election 2018 on May 12.
The current election is important for both the BJP and Congress. The election outcome will prove Prime Minister Narendra Modi's magic if the BJP comes to power, while it will be a huge blow to Congress if it fails to come to power; the grand old party is ruling in just two of the 29 states of the country. Top CM candidates, Congress' Siddaramaiah and BJP's BS Yeddyurappa are political stalwarts and their political careers are also at stake.
According to a survey by the Central for Media Studies, the current election in Karnataka is a "money guzzler" election, with all the political parties collectively spending around Rs 9,500 to Rs 10,500 crore in this Assembly election.
Parties spent double than the last election
In the 2018 Assembly election in Karnataka, the political parties have collectively spent double the amount than the 2013 Assembly election in the state.
The survey says the current expense does not include expenditure incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll campaigning. The survey, however, concludes that the Assembly election in Karnataka has proved to be more expensive than the state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The CCM survey says if the poll spending would go by this rate, political parties could spend around Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore in the 2019 Lok Sabh elections, which is double the amount spent in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014. The survey also says that personal expense has increased 75 per cent in the Karnataka election, and with this rate, the personal expense of individual candidates and political parties would grow by 50-60 per cent, 29-30 per cent in the next Lok Sabha elections next year.
Who could the next CM of Karnataka?
The new CM of Karnataka could be decided in the next few hours if any party gets full majority in the southern state. The Congress, which does not seem to be faring well in the initial trends, has fielded incumbent CM Siddaramaiah, Prime Minister Modi-led BJP has projected Yeddyurappa as the candidate for the top job in the state. Besides these two, three more candidates are also in the race for the CM's post. If Congress fails to get a majority, JDS could support it, playing the role of a kingmaker and projecting HD Kumaraswamy as the CM candidate. Apart from him, the names of Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief G Parameshwara are also being projected.