This is exactly the result many political pundits had claimed was the likeliest in the run-up to the polls, however, there is some divergence within the pollsters on who among Congress and BJP will stand out as the largest party.
While they may differ over the winner, all the exit polls suggest that JD(S) would play a vital role in the eventual state government no matter leads the government.
While some of the exit polls, like regional media Suvarna TV have given an advantage and an outside chance of forming the government to incumbent Congress. It has predicted 106 to 118 seats for the Congress and between 80 and 93 seats for the BJP. Times Now-VMR Exit Poll has also given Congress a lead with 90-103 seats and 80-93 seats to BJP.
Others like Republic TV has given an outside chance to BJP and predicted that it will get 95-114 seats while Congress will get 73-82 seats. ABP TV, too, has predicted a tally in favour of the BJP with a seat count between 97-109 seats; 97-99 seats for the Congress and between 21 and 30 for the JD(S). C-Voter has also given BJP the advantage by predicting between 97-109 for the saffron party and between 97-99 for the Congress.
India Today’s exit poll has predicted 106-118 seats for Congress; 79-92 seats for BJP; 22-30 for JD(S) and 1-4 seats for the others.
AajTak exit polls have also gone in the favour of Congress and has given Congress 106 to 118 seats; BJP 72 to 76 seats; JD(S) 25 to 30 seats and others 4 to 8 seats.
NDTV’s ‘Poll of Polls’ based on eight exit polls, predicted BJP to be the single largest party with 101 seats, Congress second with 84 seats followed by the Deve Gowda-led JD(S) with 33 seats.
Newsx-CNX, on the other hand, has predicted that BJP could be ahead of the Congress. Its exit poll has given BJP 102 to 106 seats; Congress 72 to 75 seats, JD(S) 35 to 38 seats and Others 3 to 6 seats.
In the 222 seat contest, the halfway mark is 112 seats and a party would need 113 seats to claim majority. The Election Commission declared a 70% voter turnout in the 2018 Assembly elections, which is about the same as the 2013 Assembly elections, when the turnout was 71%.
With most predictions pointing towards a hung assembly, JD(S), which has been given around 33 seats by most exit polls is likely to play the ‘kingmaker’.