Outright win for BJP, Congress may shrink to 73 seats, predicts Times Now Chanakya exit poll
If the predictions of Times Now Chanakya exit poll are to be believed then BJP may end up winning the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 comfortably, with the saffron party expected to bag around 120 seats. The majority mark in the 224 seats Karnataka assembly is 113.
From having won over 120 seats in 2013 Karnataka elections, the Congress may shrink to 73 seats. JD (S) may distant third by bagging 26 seats. If predictions of Times Now Chanakya exit poll do turn out to be true then Punjab would be only major state where Congress will remain in power. This would be a major fillip to the BJP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha election. Such a mandate for the BJP may have a significant bearing on the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which are scheduled for later this year.
A clear win also shows that people of Karnataka endorse Modi which is good thing for the party ahead on 2019 General elections. In terms of comparison to 2013 elections, BJP, if the prediction of winning 120 seats is to be believed, will have made a massive progress. The last election was a debacle for BJP and the party won under 50 seats. BJP's 2013 loss was mainly attributed to Yeddyurappa severing ties with the party and contesting polls separately under a new party KJP. It was believed that KJP ate into the BJP's vote share which left them with less than 50 seats in the assembly.
Another exit poll, Times Now VMR, has predicted a hung assembly with Congress set to emerge as the single largest party. According to Times Now VMR exit poll, Congress may win bag 90-101 and BJP is likely to win 80-94 seats. The JD (S) is expected to win around 31-39 seats. If this result does translate to reality on May 15, the JD (S)'s role would become significant. Alliance with JD (S) will be then the key to form the government.
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.