Survey indicates kingmaker's role for Deve Gowda again

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) An exit poll survey has projected one more hung verdict after the third and final phase of polling in Karnataka Assembly elections today with the Congress expected to emerge as the single largest party.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) was expected to hold the key for the majority with 45 seats.

The BJP has been projected to retain its present strength of 79 seats in the 224-member state Assembly while Others are expected to win 14 seats, an exit poll conducted by CNN-IBN and Deccan Herald said upon the completion of third final phase of pollling today in eight northern Karnataka districts.

BJP's chief ministerial nominee B S Yeddyurappa tops the voters' choice for the chief ministership with 27 per cent voters showing their perference for him. Former chief ministers H D Kumaraswamy and S M Krishna are in the second and third positions having the backing of 22 and 16 per cent voters, the survey showed.

The survey gives Congress 35 per cent vote share followed by 30 per cent for the BJP and 21 per cent for JD(S) and 14 per cent for Others.

Regionwise, the Congress and BJP are expected to make gains in Bangalore's urban areas while it was a neck and neck race between Congress and JD(S) in south Karnataka whereas the BJP is expected to be in the first place in Central and Hyderabad Karnataka regions followed by Congress. The Congress is projected to overtake BJP in coastal region. In Mumbai Karnataka region, the survey expects a neck and neck race mostly in the third phase of polling.

All the representatives of the contending parties, however, did not agree with the projections and preferred to wait for the actual results on May 25 when the counting would be held.

An estimated 59.84 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in the first phase of elections for 89 seats in eleven districts on May 10, while an estimated 60.3 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the second phase of elections 66 seats in ten districts on May 16.

An estimated 61.3 per cent polling was recorded in the third and final phase of elections to 69 seats in eight northern Karnataka districts today.

UNI MCN PK CS2204

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