Karnataka poll: Congress inches ahead but Lingayat card may not work

Bengaluru: With barely five days left for the Karnataka Assembly polls, a pre-poll survey — Lokniti-CSDS-ABP news poll, indicates that the Congress is inching ahead and increasing the gap with its principal rival, the BJP.

A big dampener for the Congress, however, is the finding of the survey that the move of the Congress government to play the Lingayat card by recommending religion status for the dominant community, has not helped much in drawing Lingayat voters away from the BJP — their preferred party in past elections.

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Interestingly, a Jain University-Lokniti-CSDS poll done earlier, had indicated that the electoral contest was extremely close with no party likely to secure a majority on its own. But once the selection of candidates was completed and the campaign got into full swing, the Congress appears to have secured an edge over its rivals, the BJP and JD(S), says the survey, conducted in the last week of April and the first few days of May. What should warm hearts in the Congress camp is the seat projection done by Rajeeva Karandikar of the Chennai Mathematical Institute based on the Lokniti-CSDS data which indicates that the Congress is ahead of the BJP and is likely to win 92-102 seats in the 224 seat Assembly though it will be still short of the half way mark by a few seats. 

The BJP is set to win 79-89 seats while the JD(S) will be a distant third with 34-42 seats.

A factor that is likely to help the Congress is the clear split in the anti-Congress vote between the BJP and the JD(S). The Kuruba vote (of Siddaramaiah’s community) is with the ruling party as is the minority, Dalit and tribal vote, says the survey. 

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