Exit polls predict hung Assembly in Karnataka

Exit polls predict hung Assembly in Karnataka

Voters wait in queues to cast their ballot outside a polling station during Karnataka assembly elections in Bengaluru, India, May 12, 2018. REUTERS

A clutch of exit polls, barring a couple, on Saturday predicted a hung Assembly in Karnataka with most of them indicating that the BJP may emerge as the single largest party while the Congress may not be able to repeat its 2013 feat.

The predictions will not bring cheer to the Congress if it turns true, as it would set the tone for the next Lok Sabha elections where the Opposition plans a United Front to take on the BJP and have a bearing on its leadership role.

While the exit polls showed that the BJP may need around a dozen more MLAs to cross the half-way mark of 113 in a 224-member Assembly, the H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S), which is in an alliance with the BSP, is likely to keep the key to government formation though it is not likely improving its tally and may even lose some.

The 2013 elections saw the Congress winning 122 seats while the BJP and the JD(S) were tied at 40 seats each.

“We have fought this election on the plank of our five-year performance, and our vision for the state. I am confident the people of Karnataka will bless us to continue serving them,” Siddaramiah tweeted as exit poll results were pouring in.

His BJP rival B S Yeddyurappa tweeted, “gratitude to the people of Karnataka for voting in large numbers today. The BJP is headed towards a landslide victory with all your blessings and support.”

Soon after the polling ended with around 70% of a little over five crore voters exercised their franchise, most of the pollsters claimed that BJP would cross 100 seats while ruling the Congress may have to settle with 70-90 seats.

Of the nine exit polls, including a poll of exit polls, analysed by DH, seven gave the BJP the edge while two predicted Congress becoming the single-largest party.

Only two exit polls indicated the possibility of a clear verdict with the Congress and the BJP sharing the honours in the polls, whose result will be known on May 15. Two other polls also predicted the BJP could cross the half-way mark.

While Axis-India Today poll showed the Congress could win up to 118 seats (106-118 range), the Today’s Chanakya claimed the BJP may win up to 131 (109-131 range) seats in the high-intensity contest that saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi campaigning in the do-or-die electoral battle. Today’s Chanakya has given the Congress a minimum of 62 seats and a maximum of 84 seats.

If the Axis poll turns true, incumbent Siddaramiah would become the first chief minister after Ramakrishna Hegde in 1985 to return to power.

The C-Voter gave the BJP a range of 107 seats (101-113) while it predicted that the Congress could end up with 88 (82-94).

The VMR prediction for Times Now showed that Congress could get 97 seats and closely followed by BJP at 94 while JD(S) is at a distant third with 28 possible seats.

Among the pollsters, those which gave the BJP the edge also include CNX (102-110), Jan Ki Baat (95-114), Digvijay News (103-107), News Nation (105-109) and NDTV’s analysis of exit polls (101).