Even exit polls split over Mandya verdict

Sumalatha

Suspense over who would win the bitterly fought Mandya parliamentary seat continues as the exit polls are divided in their predictions.

Four of the 10 exit polls predicted win for an Independent candidate in Karnataka - which is assumed to be Sumalatha, six other exit polls pointed at the victory of the alliance candidate, Nikhil, son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. 

Mandya Lok Sabha segment had witnessed a fever-pitched battle between  Sumalatha (Independent) and Nikhil. While Sumalatha, backed by the BJP, had emerged as a dark horse, the ruling coalition had left no stone unturned to ensure the victory of Nikhil, despite facing several hurdles.

The exit polls which hinted at Sumalatha's victory include Aaj Tak - Axis My India, C-Voter, ABP News Nielsen and Republic Jan Ki Baath among others. Chankaya, Times Now, News-18 - IPSOS and India Today - CNX were among the exit polls signaling Nikhil's win.

Battle of prestige

The Congress-JD(S) coalition, which was expected to sweep to victory in Mandya, had met its match in the form of Sumalatha, who plunged into the poll fray after being denied a ticket by the Congress. This resulted in one of the despicable showdowns in state politics replete with name calling and repeated references to caste during campaigning.

Sumalatha had also accused Kumaraswamy of misusing state machinery to aid his son in the election.

Apart from it, Congress discovered that its house was not in order at Mandya and found it difficult to direct Congress workers to rally behind Nikhil. Several Congress candidates in the previous Assembly elections too had backed Sumalatha in the open by defying the party's dictum.

The intervention from co-ordination committee chairman of the state government, Siddaramaiah too had little impact as the 'rebels' refused to toe the line.

BJP's external support to Sumalatha - by not fielding any candidate in the constituency - too had boosted Sumalatha's prospects, resulting in a neck to neck contest.

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