Karnataka's voters have thrown South India's first BJP government into the dustbin of history after the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha failed to live up to its promise of providing a corruption-free and transparent administration.
Nine years after losing power, the Congress has staged a convincing comeback with 121 seats in the 225-member Legislative Assembly and is set to form the government on its own.
Polls were held in 223 seats of the 224-member State Assembly on May 5. The poll process in one constituency in Mysore district was rescheduled after the death of a candidate. The BJP and JD (S) each have won 40 seats.
The Congress will now have to decide on its new chief minister in the state. The leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, Siddaramaiah (65), who has won from Mysore district and Union Labour Minister M.Mallikarjuna Kharge (71) are the frontrunners. Siddaramaiah is a former deputy chief minister who spent a large part of his political career in various parties that evolved out of the Janata Dal. He is identified as a leader of the Dalits, backward communities and minorities. Kharge has never lost an Assembly election in his home district Gulbarga, and is a senior leader hailing from the Dalit community. Both have clean records and have not been involved in controversies.
While Union Petroleum Minister M.Veerappa Moily has denied being in the race, his name too often figures as a probable chief ministerial candidate. He was the chief minister of Karnataka in the early 1990s. All India Congress Committee member Oscar Fernandes, who hails from the coastal Dakshina Kannada district, is a dark horse.
The state was under the Congress rule from 1999 to 2004, and S.M. Krishna as chief minister during this period supported the fledgling information technology sector in Bangalore with infrastructure support, and helped it to scale up.
It was during this period that Nandan Nilekani, then CEO & MD of Infosys, also headed the Bangalore Agenda Task Force or BATF - a novel government initiative that facilitated the interface between corporate and government agencies in order to manage the affairs of the city better.
Krishna had appointed Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy as the Chairman of Bangalore International Airport Limited, but Murthy quit that post later after Deve Gowda made some comments about him.
Karnataka accounts for more than a third of IT services exports from India.