State BJP, Congress leaders make cautious predictions

State BJP, Congress leaders make cautious predictions

BJP chief does not want to hurt party workers morale

Election pundits in the State units of the BJP and the Congress have begun making their own calculations based on their perceived performance in the polls. There could, however, be two clear results: either the BJP will retain a majority of the Lok Sabha seats or a Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine may equal or exceed the saffron party’s performance in 2004.

With just two days left for turning on the electronic voting machines to read the people’s verdict, tension was palpable among the contestants and their party bosses. For the record, BJP leaders insisted their party would improve upon the 2004 performance by at least two to four seats.

Notwithstanding such liberal estimates, the BJP will have to better the 18-seat position it enjoys over the Congress and the JD(S). A conservative estimate put the BJP’s winning tally in Karnataka between 14 and 16.

State BJP president D V Sadananda Gowda said his party was confident of winning 20 to 21 seats. But he was candid enough to admit that the BJP’s performance may not have been impressive in 7 to 8 constituencies. He was not willing to identify the seats lest apprehensions of below par performance hurt workers’ morale ahead of the vote counting.

No enthusiasm

Gowda said that in stock-taking meetings, after elections were held in the State’s 28 constituencies, it was felt that the BJP government’s welfare schemes had reached 10,000 homes in each Assembly constituency. He said such measures would have worked in favour of the party’s nominees. However, the BJP leader said that in some of the constituencies the distributive impact of the welfare measures might have failed to reach the target groups. Consequently, party workers did not show the desired enthusiasm, Gowda said.

He admitted that in certain constituencies, including Raichur, “pressure” from a section of the state leaders to force the hands of the party high command to change candidates could prove costly for the BJP. “In a nutshell, I can say we will get 70 per cent positive votes and 30 per cent negative votes. The Congress’ inability to field able candidates in all the constituencies is also going to benefit the BJP,” Gowda said.

On the other hand, ever since elections to the 28 constituencies in the State concluded, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president R V Deshpande has been claiming that his party would double its 2004 tally from 8 to 16. But the calculations of other seasoned Congress leaders put the figure between 8 and 10.

Interestingly enough, the JD(S)’s initial expectations of winning 13 seats appear to have waned considerably. Although H D Kumaraswamy had earlier claimed that the party would garner 13 seats, a more credible estimate is 3 to 4. Some Congress leaders feel that a Congress-JD(S) alliance may well equal or even exceed the BJP’s tally.

While this may not be a reality once the results begin to pour in, there is some hope that since the JD(S) did not field candidates in eight constituencies to strengthen the Congress’ hands, an alliance between the two parties may yet be on the cards.

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