If the predictions of India Today-Karvy opinion polls are to be believed then Karnataka is heading for a hung assembly in the elections scheduled to be held on May 12. According to the India Today opinion poll, the Congress is likely to bag anywhere between 90-101 seats, while the BJP may bag between 78-86 seats. The JD (S) may win between 34-43 seats while the others may win around 4-7 seats.
As per the opinion poll, the difference between the vote shares of the BJP and the Congress is just 2%, which according to some experts should be a cause of concern for the Congress. Congress is likely to get 37% vote share while BJP may get 35%.
Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats and majority mark to form the government is 113.
With exactly a month left for Karnataka Assembly elections, the opinion poll has revealed that 38% of the respondents have rated incumbent CM Siddaramaiah's performance as good. Of the total respondents, 29% have also rated his performance as poor. Getting into the details of findings of the poll, 28% have rated Siddramaiah's performance as good while 10% have rated him as very good.
Respondents have indicated that Lingayat issue is a major one that would influence the elections. Lingayats constitute 17% of Karnataka's population. 52% have said that Lingayat issue is a major issue, while 20% have said that it is not a major issue.
Karnataka is a state where the anti-incumbency has played a major role in the past. Voters of the state have not given any government a second chance in a long time. The Congress has been claiming that there is no anti-incumbency and that people of Karnataka are firmly behind Siddaramaiah.
The poll has predicted that Siddaramaiah is the top choice of the respondents for the CM's post. 33% of the respondents rated Siddaramaiah as their top choice, while BJP's Yeddyurappa is at second place with 26% respondents voting for him. The JD (S)'s HD Kumaraswamy has emerged third best choice for CM with 21% respondents voting for him.
Several factors are in favour of Siddaramaiah as per the opinion poll. Supreme Court's recent verdict in the Cauvery river sharing matter was in favour of Karnataka. The recent ruling reduced the amount of water that Karnataka used to release for Tamil Nadu. 49 % of the respondents have said that the SC verdict would benefit the Congress, while 34% have said to no to it. 17 % have also opted for 'don't know' or can't say.
Siddaramaiah has also made some astute political moves in the last two months. In February, he sent a proposal to the Centre for a separate Karnataka flag 'Nada Dhwaja', a move aimed at portraying his government as pro-Kannada. The move was welcomed by several Kannada groups.
Siddaramaiah cabinet recently approved separate religion status to the Lingayat community, a move aimed at splitting the BJP's traditional vote base. BJP's chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa is a strong Lingayat leader and when had quit the BJP in 2013, the saffron party had fared badly in the elections. The proposal for separate religion status for the Lingayats is now in the Centre's court.