Rama Krishna Sangem
Congress party appears to come to power in Karnataka. Around 60 per cent of the exit polls, based on the sample collected from those who just voted, point to a clear majority to the Grand Old Party, while another 20 per cent give it the single largest party status and remaining 20 per cent say, BJP may emerge the single largest party. All surreys give JD(S) from 10 to 34 seats. Karnataka has 224 MLAs.
PCC president DK Shivakumar just after the exit polls May 10, Thursday night, however predicted 141 MLAs to his party , which means, it doesn’t have to depend on JD(S), to form the government. As usual, BJP CM Basavaraj Bommai said he w would wait for actual results on May 13. The average vote share difference between Congress and BJP shows that the latter is sure to lose power in its southern base. If so, BJP will be out of power in entire South India.
India Today Axis My India survey, which was accurate in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, gave 122-140 seats to Congress and 62- 80 to BJP, while JD(S) is projected to get 20-25 seats. Republic TV which openly backs BJP too gave clear edge to Congress with 94-108 and BJP 83-95 and JD(S)- 24-32 seats. Times Now said Congress will get 113, while BJP 85 and JD(S) 23 MLAs.
Suvarna TV with Janki Baat gave BJP edge with 94-117, Congress 91-106 and JD(S) 14-24 seats. News Nation is another channel which predicted BJP 117 seats, and Congress 86 and JD(S) 20 seats. There are a few other agencies too which conducted exit polls and clearly put Congress ahead of BJP. Today’s Chanakya, known for its precise forecasts gave Congress 120 and BJP 92 and JD(S) just 12.
Big boost to Gandhis
Though Karnataka elections are held on local issues, Congress coming to power will boost Gandhis – Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka – as they campaigned very hard in the state. Sonia’s decision to make Mallikarjuna Kharge AICC president too will be validated. Elections are fought by DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah, but the Gandhis led the campaign from the front.
If Congress wins Karnataka, it will be its fourth state to be in power after Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh. It will help Congress improve its position in a few more states where it is in ruling alliances – Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Rahul’s bargaining power to be the Opposition’s PM candidate in 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be strengthened. It will be seen as second state in its kitty after Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.
DK Shivakumar front runner to CM post
DK Shivakumar, famously called by his supporters as DKS, is the clear front runner for the CM post. A leading Vokkaliga leader he is, DKS will have to overcome challenge from former CM Siddaramaiah, in case Congress secures simple majority. Even if Congress has to depend on JD(S) support to form a government too, DKS will have an edge, as he will get the support of Kumaraswamy, who too belongs to Vokkaliga community. Soon, they may become relatives too.
DKS made it clear on the polling day that Congress will not have any post-poll tie up with JD(S). But this statement is seen as an appeal to voters to give his party full majority. Obviously, Congress will turn to JD(S) for help, if it falls short of 113 figure on May 13. If the high command makes Siddaramaiah as CM, then there will be scope for instability in Karnataka in the coming months. The high command, means, Gandhis, will have to act cautiously.