May 24, 2018

Polls suggest BJP may be leading party in India's Karnataka

14 May 2018, 04:19 | Erma Lawrence

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah after voting in the Karnataka Assembly Elections at Hundi village Mysuru on Saturday

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah after voting in the Karnataka Assembly Elections at Hundi village Mysuru on Saturday

Yeddyurappa calculation had never went wrong in the past and his party would get around 130 seats, said the former CM.

The election in two constituencies, Jayanagar and R.R. Nagar, has been postponed. India Today predicted the vote share of the Congress and the BJP at 39% and 35%, respectively while Republic TV pegged vote share for the parties at 36 per cent and 38.25 per cent.

Earlier today, Siddaramaiah mocked at the predictions of a hung assembly by conductors of various exit polls calling them "entertainment".

Some 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise for Karnataka Assembly polls on Saturday, the Election Commission said here.

However, in 2008, Karnataka saw a statewide polling of 64.68% in which the electorate voted to give the BJP 110 out of the 224 seats, voting in a one-party government as against two successive coalitions (Congress-JDS and JDS-BJP) from 2004-2008.

To a question on the possibility of a Dalit chief minister, he said, "It is fine if the party decides to have a Dalit chief minister". Congress and Janata Dal (S) leaders have already started making subtle overtures to each other, with Congress minister DK Shivakumar stating that he expects the JD (S) to perform better this time. They predicted 79-82 and 80-93 seats for the BJP, respectively. It remains to be seen whether the Congress' gamble of according religious minority status to Lingayat-Veerashaivas pays off; an umbrella organisation of Lingayat mutts has urged its followers to vote for the Congress.

The keenly-contested elections in Karnataka are likely to have a major bearing on the central government's economic agenda as well as on the Lok Sabha polls next year.

In 2005, the former prime minister had sacked the Karnataka CM from the party after which Siddaramaiah joined the Congress.

In what it looks like the Congress party's acceptance to the possible fractured mandate in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said that he was ready to sacrifice CM's post for a Dalit.

He claimed there was a strong wave in BJP's favour and public ire against chief minister Siddaramaiah and the Congress. Yeddyurappa said, "He (prime minister Narendra Modi) is in touch with me and (BJP president) Amit Shah".

The BJP has declared B.S. Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate.

Still, Polling to 222 Karnataka Assembly constituencies began at 7 AM and will continue till 6 PM.

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