Congress, BJP have 'gut feeling': Higher turnout will favour them

Congress, BJP have 'gut feeling': Higher turnout will favour them

KPCC chief claims his party will win 20 seats; Shettar says max benefit to BJP

Congress, BJP have 'gut feeling': Higher turnout will favour them

Both the Congress and the BJP think the higher turnout on Thursday would favour them. Their claims, however, do not reflect any exit poll or scientific study but their “gut feeling”. 

KPCC president, G Parameshwara, welcomed the higher turnout, but said he was disappointed by the percentage of polling in Bangalore, though it was better than the 2009 figure. Voter apathy and extended holiday could be the reasons for low turnout in Bangalore, he told reporters here. But he did not delve into the reasons for the good turnout elsewhere. 

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande, whose son Prashant contested from Uttara Kannada, said there were 58,000 young voters, from all communities in that constituency. The turnout was almost 70 per cent, an impressive increase from the 59 per cent in 2009. 

“It will naturally benefit the Congress which enjoys the support of SC/STs, OBCs and the minorities. The higher the turnout the better for the Congress,” he claimed. 

The reason for good turnout elsewhere, according to Deshpande, was intense canvassing by the political parties. “Earlier, no party would campaign so extensively in general elections which are now being contested like Assembly or panchayat polls,” he said, dismissing the possible role of the “Modi wave”. 

BJP leader Jagadish Shettar gave a more plausible explanation. “The concerted efforts by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the media ensured good turnout,” he said. “Earlier, youths hardly cared about politics and issues of national importance. But now they are evincing interest in the political process. Hence, the percentage of polling went up.” 

Shettar sought to give credit to the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, saying the NaMo Brigades and extensive canvassing by Modi and different wings of the saffron party had prodded people into voting. “A higher turnout augurs well for the BJP,” he claimed. 

“Tacit agreement”

Meanwhile, Parameshwara accused the BJP and the JD(S) of reaching a “tacit agreement” in several constituencies. They “pursued adjustment politics to take on the ruling Congress”, and had an understanding in fielding candidates in Bidar, Uttara Kannada, Udupi-Chikmagalur, Chamarajanagar, Mysore and other constituencies, he charged, but added that the Congress would nevertheless win at least 20 seats in Karnataka. 

Asked if top leaders in the State Congress would be replaced if the party did not win as many seats as it expected to, Parameshwara said there was no question of a change in leadership. “The Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) and I will take responsibility for the results. If the party wins fewer seats, it will mean we need to provide better governance,” he added. 

Parameshwara said secularism and inclusive growth were the two main issues in this elections. People have taken the issue of secularism seriously. They have become aware of the dangers of divisive politics of the communal forces, he said. 

The KPCC chief also said the ECI should make the voters’ list foolproof. Complaints about missing names and deletion of names in the list surface during every election. A foolproof list will ensure better election results, he added. 

JD (S) leader and Chikkaballapur candidate H D Kumaraswamy claimed his party would win at least 7-8 seats. He said the party had hoped to win least 12 seats before the campaign began, but had scaled down the expectation as financial constraints forced it to focus on certain constituencies. 

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