Congress touched the triple-digit mark in early trends on Saturday in counting of votes for the Karnataka Assembly polls.
As per the latest Election Commission data at 10:40am, Congress is leading in 115 seats while the BJP is ahead in 73 seats.
JD(S) was leading at 23 seats. While the ECI data also showed two seats being led by other parties; Kalyana and Rajya Pragati Paksha and Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha both are leading on one seat each.
The exit polls which were out after voting ended on 10 May predicted a hung assembly with some showing Congress returning to power with a majority. Most of the exit polls had predicted that the BJP will fall short of the halfway mark, 113.
Congress is expected to have a clear edge in Karnataka in the assembly elections held on Wednesday with four exit polls giving it a full majority and some predicting a hung assembly with an advantage to the party.
In such circumstances, the JD(S) can play the role of a kingmaker.
However, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that he has not been contacted as yet for the formation of the government in case of a cliffhanger, adding that he is hoping for a good show.
Speaking to the media ahead of the counting, Kumaraswamy cited the exit polls which predicted nearly 30-32 seats to JD(S) and a clear edge to the Congress party with some even predicting a majority for the grand old party and said that according to the predictions, there is no need for him to explore options.
"In the next 2-3 hours, it will become clear. Exit polls show that the two national parties will score in a big way. The polls have given 30-32 seats to JD(S). I am a small party, there is no demand for me...I am hoping for a good development," he said.
"No one has contacted me till now. Let us see the final results first. According to the exit polls, there is no need for options. Let us see," the JD(S) leader added.
The exit polls, which were released after the polling ended in Karnataka, predicted that Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) would not touch the 37 seats it won in the 2018 polls but will continue to be a strong regional player in the state. If Karnataka throws up a hung assembly, the JD-S could emerge in the role of kingmaker.
The fiercely contested election that saw high-pitch campaigns from the political parties is crucial for both BJP and Congress. Hectic electioneering by leaders of various political parties saw BJP allowing Union Ministers and Chief Ministers to campaign with their full force.
The Congress on the other hand worked hard to wrest power from the BJP that is striving to break the 38-year-old pattern of alternating governments and retain its power in the state.
Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, held various roadshows, rallies and elections campaigns. An incumbent government has not returned to power in Karnataka after a full term of five years since 1985.