The South First -People’s Pulse pre-poll survey projected that the Karnataka Assembly election is likely to throw up a fractured mandate, with Congress emerging as the single-largest party.
A day after South First published its pre-poll survey, the three primary parties in Karnataka — the Congress, the JD(S), and the BJP — insisted that the mandate would be decisive and firmly in their favour.
The opinion poll by South First for the upcoming Karnataka election, carried out between 25 March and 10 April, showed that a change of government was on the anvil in Karnataka.
The survey predicted 98 seats for the Congress, within a range of 95-105 seats.
The incumbent BJP was projected to win 92 seats — within a range of 90-100 seats.
The JD(S) is projected to win 27 seats — within a range of 25-30 seats.
Several issues, including announcements of candidates by parties and reactions to them, are expected to influence ground realities in the run-up to the 10 May elections, changing equations.
South First Karnataka pre-poll survey: Change of government on the anvil
Parties sure of a decisive mandate
BJP spokesperson Mahesh G told South First that it was highly unlikely that there would be a hung Assembly.
“I have gone through your (South First) poll survey. I do not agree with the predictions of a hung Assembly,” he said.
Mahesh asserted that the party was very confident that it would certainly win 150 seats in the state.
“Out of the 70 fresh faces we have announced as candidates, nine are doctors, technocrats, and former bureaucrats. We have also included five of our workers who live very simple lives. Our candidate in Byndoor doesn’t even use footwear. Such is the range we have accommodated. It shows the party is very close to the people. They will give us a huge mandate this time, and teach a lesson to the Congress,” Mahesh told South First.
“Karnataka will make history in its political journey. The BJP and India have changed. We have made structural changes to our approach. In the last 30-40 years, we have seen the same leaders in public life. We have strengthened the party in all forms and we are paving the way for a new generation of leaders,” he added.
South First January Poll: Corruption is top issue for voters in Karnataka
Congress banks on ‘undercurrent’, anger against BJP
Senior Congress leader and MLC BK Hariprasad told South First that surveys conducted by his party showed it winning over 130 seats.
“We have done three surveys — an AICC survey, a KPCC poll survey under DK Shivakumar, and a CLP poll survey under Siddaramaiah. The AICC survey showed that we will sweep 140 seats, and in both the KPCC and CLP polls we are in between 130 and 140 seats. So, no doubt that the Congress will certainly sweep the polls,” Hariprasad said.
“In the first list, we had no problems, but in the second list, we had some hiccups. However, overall, it’s one of the best rosters we have brought out,” Hariprasad said about the party’s candidate list.
He added that the BJP replacing 52 candidates with new faces showed that the old faces had lost their credibility.
Senior Congress leader UT Khader said: “We are expecting more seats than what is mentioned in the South First pre-poll survey because the BJP cannot get more than 70 seats at any cost.”
He added: “There is anti-incumbency against the government and an undercurrent in favour of the Congress. We expect somewhere between 140 and 150 seats in the state, winning a clear majority.”
South First January Poll: Congress to emerge single-largest party in Karnataka
What does JD(S) think?
Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson Rangothri Kumar said the party was confident of winning seats from Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru, Kolar, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, the Old Mysore region, Uttara Karnataka, and Karavalli Karnataka, along with eight to 10 seats in Bengaluru.
“With the successful Pancharatna yatre across the state, we are expecting to win anywhere from 100 to 120 seats. In case it’s a hung Assembly, it will be impossible for the JD(S) to join hands with the BJP. We made a mistake earlier, but it will not be repeated as we have a secular set-up, and CM Ibrahim will never allow it,” Kumar told South First.
Kumar also expressed suspicion about opinion polls being biased in favour of national parties.
“Usually, surveys are conducted keeping in mind national parties like the BJP and the Congress, but the JD(S) is a regional party and it has its own roots. Surveys would not give the actual picture,” Kumar insisted.