BJP, Congress in Karnataka calculate poll prospects amid long wait for results

The BJP-JD(S) alliance is confident of victory in over 20 constituencies, whereas the Congress is hoping guarantees will help it win big.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 15, 2024 | 2:32 PMUpdatedMay 15, 2024 | 2:32 PM

Karnataka

Political parties in Karnataka are calculating their prospects — and that of their rivals — ahead of the Lok Sabha election result to be announced on 4 June.

Polling in the state’s 28 Parliament seats was held in two phases, on 26 April and 7 May, necessitating almost a month’s excruciating wait for the results.

The BJP is confident of winning 20 constituencies, including its ally JD(S)’s two seats. The Congress hopes to better its 2019 performance by bagging around eight to 12 seats.

The grand old party believes its successful implementation of the five guarantees made to the state ahead of the 10 May 2023 Assembly polls, inflation, unemployment, issues concerning the farmers, and dissent within the BJP and JD(S) have swung the voters’ mood in its favour.

On the other hand, BJP leaders claimed that the Modi wave, the central government’s achievements, nepotism in the Congress, and the ineffective implementation of the guarantees, among others, have assisted the party in the Parliament elections.

The Congress had fielded the children of at least six state Cabinet ministers and three relatives of senior leaders.

Meanwhile, the BJP replaced around 12 incumbent MPs, including former Union minister Sadananda Gowda and former state president Nalin Kumar Kateel.

Karnataka polled 70.7 percent in the Lok Sabha election.

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Congress leans on guarantees, women voters

A year ago, the Congress dethroned the BJP from power, winning 135 seats in the Assembly polls.

The party hopes for a repeat of the Assembly polls. It is confident of bettering its representation in Parliament.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress, in alliance with the JD(S), won only two seats: Hassan and Bangalore Rural.

Based on the voter-turnout assessment, the Congress is confident of winning more than 10 Lok Sabha seats. It also carried out a survey on guarantees, expected to increase the women’s vote share by 10 percent.

“The party has done a voter-turnout analysis post-elections in Karnataka. We are confident of getting around 16 to 18 seats,” KPCC working president and Rajya Sabha member GC Chandrashekar told South First.

“The state, except the three seats in Bengaluru City, witnessed a decent turnout. The lower voter turnout will benefit the party more than the BJP. We have made an assessment of every seat and are confident that the results will be in our favour,” he said.

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Guarantees worked for Congress

The Congress leader further said the guarantees have worked in the party’s favour. “We surveyed the guarantees before the election. As per our report, around 30 to 40 percent of beneficiaries are supporting the Congress.”

“The state has witnessed nearly 70 percent women voter turnout. We believe that it will increase the party’s vote share by 10 percent. Additionally, the people were unhappy with the communal issues raised by the saffron cadre,” Chandrashekar added.

A Cabinet minister, who did not wish to be identified, said various factors had helped the party to campaign effectively and consolidate its vote base, especially in rural areas.

“The Congress’s guarantees have made a big impact in the rural areas, especially among women,” he claimed.

“Though the BJP and JD(S) are in alliance, all was not well with the coalition. There was dissent in several seats including Bidar, Kalaburagi, Shivamogga and a few other districts,” he pointed out.

“Those ministers and leaders whose kith and kin have been fielded in the elections have worked hard in the elections. We will win at least three to four such seats. The party might not be surprised with the results, but it will end the dominance of the BJP here,” the minister added.

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BJP-JD(S) confident of winning over 20 seats

Meanwhile, the BJP is confident of winning in at least 20 of the 28 seats.

Ahead of the elections, the JD(S) announced its alliance with the BJP. As a part of the alliance, the BJP contested 25 seats, whereas the JD(S) fought in three, Mandya, Hassan and Kolar (SC).

In the 2019 parliament elections, the BJP had won 25 of the 28 constituencies. The party is hoping to retain the maximum seats in this election.

“The party is yet to do a detailed analysis on the poll voter turnout. But it is expecting to get 22 to 24 seats in Karnataka,” a BJP leader told South First, seeking anonymity.

“As per our survey, the Modi wave, nationalism, patriotism, the PM’s development works, and schemes are the factors that mattered for the voters,” he said.

“The Congress relied solely on its guarantees. It helped the BJP in highlighting how it is impacting the development of the state and not reaching the beneficiaries regularly,” the BJP leader further said.

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Congress fought hard

“In this election, the ruling party in Karnataka made valiant efforts. They campaigned intensively and gave overwhelming fight in several seats,” he admitted.

“The Congress had not taken the Parliament elections seriously, but this time, it did. This is one factor that challenged us. Other than that, it is all BJP and Modi wave in Karnataka as well,” he said.

The BJP leader said the alliance with the JD(S) helped the party consolidate its vote base in Vijayapura, Koppal, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Tumakuru, Bangalore Rural and a few other seats.

“We ensured that the central government’s achievements and development works reached most voters. The Congress’s biggest drawback was that it gave priority to the relatives of ministers and senior leaders while picking candidates,” he said.

He added that the BJP fielded common party workers in several seats, and exuded confidence that the party will continue its dominance.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).