Bullish parties junk exit polls, claim their own victory

Bullish parties junk exit polls, claim their own victory

The Congress, the BJP and the JD(S) were bullish even as many exit polls on Saturday predicted that no party would get an absolute majority.

The three chief ministerial candidates - Congress’ Siddaramaiah, BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) - each laid claim to occupy the top post, rejecting exit polls results. Yeddyurappa has even declared that he would take oath as chief minister on May 17.

At least nine exit polls by various media and research firms came out soon after polling came to an end on Saturday evening. Six of them gave BJP the lead, while three favoured the Congress. All of them indicated that the JD(S) would emerge as the kingmaker.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dismissed the exit polls. “It’s a certainty that the Congress will get 120 and above. It’s also a certainty that I’ll become chief minister again,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in his home district Mysuru, where he said the Congress would retain 8 out of 11 seats it had won in the previous election.

Siddaramaiah is fighting his last election from Chamundeshwari and Badami constituencies. “I’ll win both seats,” he asserted, adding that he would give himself “much-needed” rest the next two days.

BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje said all exit polls would fall flat. “The BJP is certain to get a majority,” she said. “We will get 120-130 seats.” BJP national president Amit Shah, while concluding the party’s campaign earlier this week, had declared that the saffron party was poised to win at least 130 seats.

“Gratitude to the people of Karnataka for voting in large numbers. BJP is headed towards a landslide victory...” Yeddyurappa tweeted.

Kumaraswamy, who called this election “a battle of survival,” said he was confident of an absolute majority for the regional party. “There is no question of a hung verdict. I’ve toured the state tirelessly the last four months and understood the pulse of the people. They, especially women and youth, favour the JD(S),” he said, adding that he would win in both Ramanagara and Channapatna constituencies.

He maintained that the JD(S) would not forge an alliance at any cost. “I’ll not knock on anybody’s doors. I don’t want anybody coming to my doorsteps.”

With all exit polls making the JD(S) the kingmaker, the party is expected to keep its options open in the event of a hung assembly. JD(S) national president HD Deve Gowda refused to come on line for comment.