As the Karnataka Assembly elections draw closer, the incumbent Congress has a clear edge over the other parties in the State, said a pre-poll survey by Times Now, which has also predicted a better outing for Opposition BJP.
According to the the pre-poll survey, conducted by Times Now, the Congress is likely to get 91 seats, while BJP is just two seats behind with 89 seats.
Going by the opinion poll, HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) will be the kingmaker in Karnataka, with the party and its pre-poll alliance member the Bahujan Samaj Party, winning 40 seats.
"If polls were held now neither Chief Minister Siddaramaiah nor B S Yeddyurappa (of the BJP) is in a position to form the government as they are both well short of the 112 mark," it said.
As far as the choice for the chief ministerial post is concerned, Siddaramaiah leads the race with more than 46 per cent respondents voting for him. Yeddyurappa was the choice for the top post in the state for 32 per cent respondents, the survey stated.
The survey conducted by VMR for Times Now channel was had more than 4,000 respondents surveyed through stratified random sampling spread across all regions of the state.
Congress will see its seat-share fall while the BJP will see its numbers go up. The improved performance, however, is not likely to ensure the saffron party of an outright win in the Karnataka Assembly election.
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.
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.
The Karnataka Assembly election will be held on May 12 and the counting of votes will be done on May 15.