Exit Polls Predict Lotus Bloom in Karnataka, Congress-JDS Efforts to Keep BJP at Bay May Fail
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi with JD(S) leader and Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy.
The Congress and the JD(S) tied up for the Lok Sabha elections to avoid a repeat of the 2018 assembly polls, which threw up a fractured verdict and forced the two to join hands to keep the BJP out of power. However, their efforts seem to be failing.
According to the News18 IPSOS exit poll, the BJP is set to win 20-23 seats out of the 28 with a vote share of 54.47% and the UPA will wrest 5-8 seats with 41.85% of the votes. The news network has conducted the survey along with IPSOS, the world’s top international pollster that boasts a solid track record of predicting the electoral outcomes of several elections around the world with accuracy.
As per the India Today Axis poll, BJP will win between 21 and 25 seats and Congress alliance between 3 and 5. The poll has predicted 0-1 seats for others. The Chanakya-News24 exit poll has forecast 23 seats for BJP and the Congress-led alliance 5 seats. The survey conducted by Republic-C Voter has predicted 18 seats for NDA followed by 9 for UPA and one seat to independent. The ABP-Nielsen survey predicts 15 seats for NDA and 13 for UPA. The survey has forecast zero for others.
Although the arithmetic was on its side, with the combined vote share of the alliance far ahead of the BJP’s in the last election, the vote transfer was anything but smooth as the cadres of the two parties refused to campaign for each other in several places due to past rivalries.
The two had agreed on a seat-sharing pact of 21:8, with Congress being the big brother, after much wrangling and shadow boxing, as the results of this election will also impact the state government with both looking to exact as much elbow room as possible.
Most pre-poll surveys had predicted a tight contest, with a slight edge to the BJP as the constant friction between the Congress and JD(S) in the state has let it set the agenda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to enjoy strong popularity in the state.
In the 2014 election, the BJP had won 17 seats in the state, while the Congress got nine and the JD(S) just two.
Prominent figures in this election included former PM and JD(S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda, who contested from Tumkur this time round, as he vacated his traditional seat of Hassan, from where he won five times, for grandson Prajwal Revanna.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy, a second grandson, contested from Mandya, a seat traditionally held by the Congress but given to the JD(S) in the seat-sharing exercise. He faced off against independent candidate Sumalatha, wife of late actor-turned-politician Ambareesh. She had the support of the BJP as this was the only seat the saffron party did not contest.
For the Congress, leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha and MP from Gulbarga, Mallikarjun Kharge, and state agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda, were amongst the big faces this election. Gowda contested from Bangalore South against the BJP’s union minister Sadananda Gowda.
The BJP, like several other states, banked primarily on Prime Minister Modi’s appeal and focused on promising a stable government, with its ‘majboot vs majboor’ coalition narrative working best in the state considering the pains in the functioning of the Congress-JD(S) government.
The opposition alliance focused largely on local issues like farm distress, unemployment, water crisis, particularly in state capital Bengaluru, and the emotive issue of Kannada pride.
The election will also determine the future of the Congress-JD(S) government, which has been subsisting on a wafer-thin majority over the past year, in the state. Both parties, sources said, had decided to continue this ‘adjustment’ until ‘at least’ the Lok Sabha elections and a lot will now depend on its outcome.