Karnataka verdict: Neck and neck contest between BJP, Cong

New Delhi, May 15: Counting of votes for the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 

has already begun this morning and from the early trends it appears that it is going to be a neck and neck contest between the BJP and Congress. 

According to early trends, BJP is leading on 61 seats, Congress on 62 seats and JDS on 31 seats. 

BJP's chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa is leading in Shikaripura.

Several exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly, and said former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD(S) would play the role of the kingmaker.

In one of the most high-profile and bitterly fought elections in recent times, 222 of the 224 seats went to polls on May 12.

Polling for R R Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in Jayanagar seat following the death of the BJP candidate.

Counting of votes would begin at 8 am in nearly 40 counting centres, election office sources said. The trends are likely to begin to trickle within an hour and all results are expected to be declared by late evening.