With just six days left to go for the Karnataka elections, opinion polls remain divided between predicting an outright BJP victory and a hung Assembly. Just one pollster has predicted a clear majority for Congress in the 224-member House.
Clear BJP win
The TV5 News poll, released on Monday evening, predicted the BJP would receive a clear majority with between 110 and 120 seats, the Congress could nab between 65 and 75 seats and the Janata Dal(Secular), which has tied up with the BSP, could net between 38 and 42 seats.
The poll, conducted across 32 randomly selected segments between 13 April and 4 May, covered a cross-section of the voting public (SC, ST, OBC, government employees, farmers, labourers, students, private sector employees) and obtained opinions of 38,400 people randomly selected from the voter list.
The BJP's estimated vote share was pegged between 36 and 38 percent, the Congress' vote share was predicted to be between 33 and 35 percent and the JD(S) was approximated between 20 and 22 percent.
Drinking water and drainage emerged as the voters' biggest problems, and the poll found that Karnataka was divided on the performance of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's Congress government. The respondents also preferred BS Yeddyurappa as the chief minister of the state over the incumbent by just one percent. Sixty-one percent of people polled said Lingayats should not be given a separate religious status and 55 percent preferred Narendra Modi as prime minister.
On 3 May, the Jan Ki Baat opinion poll also gave the BJP the upper hand, however, without a clear majority. The poll predicted the saffron party, which has seen Modi, Amit Shah and Yeddyurappa campaign for it, could win anywhere between 102 and 108 seats. The poll said that the Congress, represented by Siddaramaiah and party president Rahul Gandhi could win from 72-74 seats. It also estimated the JD(S) tally between 42 and 44 seats. The BJP was predicted to nab 40 percent of the vote share, the Congress was estimated to get 38 percent and JD(S) was approximated at 20 percent, according to the poll.
According to the ABP News-CSDS opinion poll which was released earlier on Monday, Karnataka is likely to throw up a hung Assembly with the ruling Congress emerging as the single-largest party, closely followed by the BJP and the JDS-BSP combine playing kingmaker.
According to the survey, the Congress could win as many as 97 seats in the 224-member House, while the BJP is estimated to win 84 seats. The poll also projected that the JD(S) could net 37 seats and emerge as kingmaker. The survey said the Congress might get 38 percent of votes, the BJP 33 percent and the JD(S) may reel in 22 percent vote share.
Also in April, a Times Now-VMR poll estimated that the Congress would get 91 seats, the BJP would nab 89 seats and the JD(S) and BSP combine was likely to win 40 seats. According to the poll, Congress would net 38.6 percent vote share, the BJP would nab 35.03 percent vote share and JD(S)-BSP would receive 21.33 percent of votes.
Congress to prevail
In April, a C-Fore opinion poll found the Congress comfortably ahead of BJP and JD(S), and predicted the grand old party could get a clear majority with 118 to 128 seats. The survey said the BJP was likely to get between 63 and 73 seats and the JD(S) would get from 29 to 36 seats. The survey data said the poll was carried out in 61 of the 224 Assembly segments and 6,247 voters were interviewed. C-Fore put the margin of error at two percent and said they have a 95 percent confidence level.
Campaign gathers steam
As the date of polling draws close, campaigning has gathered steam as the Congress, the BJP, and the JD(S) are pulling out all stops to woo voters. Both Modi and Rahul have been busy with campaigning as the BJP is making a strong bid to unseat the Congress.
Addressing as many as four rallies on Sunday, Modi flayed the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka for celebrating the "jayantis of Sultans" for the sake of "vote bank politics".
"Look at the Congress character....whose jayanti needs to celebrated with respect, from whom we have to draw inspiration for generations to generations, they can't think about celebrating their jayantis. Veera Madakari and Onake Obavva are forgotten, but for the sake of vote bank politics they are into celebrating jayantis of Sultans," Modi said.
Batting for the Congress' return in Karnataka, party leader P Chidambaram said on Twitter that the voters would compare five years of "development" under Siddaramaiah versus five years of "instability" from 2008 under BJP's three chief ministers.
The former Union finance and home minister claimed on Saturday that the people would remember that it was the same three "incompetent" men, who were leading the BJP's campaign in 2018.
BS Yeddyurappa, DV Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar were the chief ministers when the BJP was in power in Karnataka from 2008 to 2013.
Meanwhile, Pakistan urged BJP to stop dragging Islamabad into the election campaign. "BJP's concoctions continue unabated. Be it Gujarat or Karnataka, Pakistan is sadly invoked to try to get electoral gains within India," foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted on Saturday. Karnataka is set to hold elections to its 224-seat Assembly on 12 May. Results will be declared on 15 May.
Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.
Updated Date: May 12, 2018 20:02:56 IST