India Today Exit poll predicts 106-118 seats for Congress; BJP to emerge second
The India Today-Axis My India exit poll has predict that the Congress would emerge as the largest party in Karnataka assembly, with the grand old party likely to bag around 106- 118 seats. The BJP is expected to win around 79-92 seats while JD (S) is likely to win 22-30 seats.
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. If the numbers of the Exit Polls are to be believed then the BJP is in for a shock. Not does it seem that the Congress may beat the anti-incumbency, it may also be able stop the Modi juggernaut which has been winning state after state since 2014.
The exit poll suggests that Congress enjoys the support of Minorities (Muslims & Christians), Kurubas and SC & ST which constitutes 48% of Karnataka's population.
As far as vote shares are concerned, the Congress is likely to get 39% of votes, while the BJP and JD (S) may get 35% and 17%, respectively.
If the predictions are true, then the Congress' vote share would decreased by 2%, while BJP's may increased by 2%. The JD (S)'s vote share has also decreased by 3%, according to the exit poll.
Siddaramaiah has also made some astute political moves in the last few 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 he had quit the BJP in 2013, the saffron party fared badly in the elections.
In 2013, the Congress had stormed to power by jumping from 80 to 122 seats, while the BJP had fallen from 110 seats to 40. The JD(S), meanwhile, had bagged 40 seats compared to its tally of 28 in 2008.