The opinion and exit polls in Karnataka make for intriguing analysis.The ‘CNN IBN-Deccan Herald’ combine engaged the ‘Centre for the Study of Developing Societies’ to conduct an opinion poll before the Karnataka Assembly polls. It came out with the results that the Congress would capture 114 seats out of 224, which would be a slender but clear majority to form a government on its own.
It gave 60 seats to BJP and 37 seats to JD (S). This would be a plus of 49 seats for Congress when compared with the 2004 elections, a minus of 19 seats for the BJP and a minus of 21 seats for JD (S). It said that the Congress would capture a vote share of 39% against BJP’s 28%, JD’s 20% and BSP’s 2%. By contradicting itself, the report said that 27% preferred Yeddiyurappa as the Chief Minister, while 22% preferred H D Kumarasamy and 16% preferred S M Krishna. This is what the secular brigade did exactly in Gujarat also. They projected Modi as the most preferred Chief Minister, but predicted Congress as a clear winner and ate humble pie in the end.
On the other hand the NDTV has given a totally different prediction in its ‘Exit Poll’. It said that BJP would capture 31 seats followed by JD (S) 25 and Congress at the last with 23 seats. With regards to Bangalore city, NDTV gave 14 seats to BJP out of 28, which is 50%. The point to note here is that if BJP could come out successful in its supposedly weak area of Southern Karnataka, then it could be expected to sail through easily in the other two areas of central Karnataka, a fairly better wicket, and, Northern Karnataka, its best bastion.
With regards to the second phase of 66 seats, which went for poll on 16 May, the NDTV predicted 32 to 42 seats for BJP followed by 15 to 20 seats for Congress and 8 to 12 seats for the JD (S). Even on the assumption that BJP wins only 32 seats, it comes close to 50% of Central Karnataka. In the Northern Karnataka, which went to polls on 22 May in the third phase for 66 seats, NDTV has predicted 30 to 40 seats to BJP followed by 20 t0 30 seats to Congress and 10 to 12 seats for JD (S). Here again even the lowest possible figure of 30 seats is close to 50% of the electorate in favour of BJP.
As per the total exit poll predictions of NDTV, the BJP is expected to finish with not less than 115 seats, which comfortably crosses the half way mark of 112 in the 224-member Assembly.
Sources from Karnataka say the BJP’s campaigning was meticulously planned, focusing mainly on stable government, good governance and development. The party, hugely supported by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been a big hit among the youth of Karnataka, has carefully refrained itself from harping more on ‘Hindutva’, which has made the campaigning of Congress and JD (S) difficult. Even the Gujarat CM has loaded his speeches only with development, apart from attacking the Congress and UPA on inflation, price rise, pathetic internal security and terrorism, mess in agriculture, farmers suicides and the total non-governance. The ‘speech writers’ of the Congress party and its secular brigade have refrained from indulging in personal attack on BJP leaders, as the ‘Merchant of Death’ issue is still green in their mind. Many top BJP leaders have toured the state and they have taken up the ‘betrayal’ issue of the Gowdas also vehemently. Surprisingly, as per the sources in Karnataka, ala Gujarat, a considerable section of Muslims also have voted in favour of BJP.
With regards to Congress, the party has been riddled with factions and infighting was openly seen even during campaigns and its continuance of the ‘failed’ strategy of placing candidates and playing vote bank politics based on the caste and religious considerations have displeased the people, who have been already agitated against volatile issues like price rise and terrorism. The JD (S) has been in a pathetic state due to its own making. The party, which performed well in the local body elections, has lost its credibility by the clownish behaviour of the senior and junior Gowdas exhibiting their greed for power and wealth. The party has also lost a considerable number of leaders and along with them cadres too, who have joined other parties. The party has gone dearth of effective campaigners and strategists and it seems to have resolved itself to focus on thirty to forty seats in order to play the so-called Kingmaker role. Though the pollsters and psephologists have predicted a ‘Hung’ Assembly and projected Deve Gowda as a kingmaker, the people it seems have gone in favour of a third alternative in the BJP, as they have had extremely bad experiences in the last four years due to a hung assembly. The BJP is expected to enter the Southern part of India by opening its account in Karnataka with a clear majority. BJP’s victory would ensure a full term (5 years) of UPA government and a Congress victory would advance the general elections.