Karnataka has been an electorally contrarian state and it went alive as soon as elections dates for the assembly elections were announced by the Election Commission on Tuesday.

Since 1985, no political party has been able to come to power in consecutive terms in the state because of high level of anti-incumbency sentiments there.

This time around, the Hindutva plank is being attempted to be warded off by the Congress, led by its local supremo Siddaramaiah. The Congress is also hoping to prove wrong the historical anti-incumbency factor.

A pre-poll survey conducted by C-Fore, and quoted in a News18 report, claims that in the 224 seat assembly, Congress will not only return to power but will also become the dominant power. The survey reportedly interviewed 22,357 voters across 154 Assembly constituencies and was held between 1and 25 March.

With a positive swing of 9 per cent, 46 per cent of the votes would be lapped up by Congress, said the C-Fore predictions. On the other hand, 31 percent votes would go to the BJP and 16 percent to and the JD(S). The prediction of C-Force has mostly been on the mark on all other previous occasions. Before the last assembly elections, the same survey firm had predicted 119-120 seats for the Congress and it ended up winning 122 and formed the government.

However, according to a news report in the Financial Express, another opinion poll suggested a hung verdict with neither the BJP nor the Congress managing absolute majority. The JD(S) would stand to gain at the cost of both the BJP and the Congress. The survey which was carried out by poll agency named CHS, gave Congress between 77-81 seats and the BJP between 73-76. 64 to 66 seats were given to the JD(S).

An opinion poll conducted by TV9-C Voter and quoted in a report put Congress to be the major party with 102 seats in the assembly while 96 seats were given to the BJP. But the poll suggested that the king maker would be the JD(S) which was accorded 25 seats.

The News -18 report claimed that access to clean drinking water was identified by the voters to be their biggest problem. Inadequate drainage system and bad roads were among the other major problems faced. The incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah was selected to be the favourite chief minister by 45 percent of the voters interviewed while only 26 per cent of the voters’ first preference was BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa. HD Kumaraswamy got only 13 per cent of the voters’ confidence, the C-Fore survey said.

Congress will come back to power, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah while commenting on the poll dates.

“Expectation was that it will be announced any time after March 23, today they have declared (the dates),” he told reporters in Chikkaballapura.

The allegation that the JD(S) had joined hands with the BJP, was reiterated by the chief minister.

“We are contesting independently, JDS is also contesting independently, but they have a relationship with BJP,” he said.

“There is no doubt about it; we will come back (to power)” he said when asked about a pre-poll survey forecasting 126 seats for the Congress.”

On the other hand, BJP national president Amit Shah said that the party is absolutely ready for the elections and Yeddyurappa will become the next chief minister. He was speaking to reporters at Davanagere on the second day of his tour to the central region of Karnataka.

(Adapted from www.firstpost.com)