Karnataka: Hung or clear?

published on May 24, 2008








By: B R HARAN







At
the time of UP Assembly elections, the pollsters were of the opinion
that the road to Delhi is via Lucknow and to the shock of the nation
Mayawathi has captured Lucknow with a majority of her own. The Congress
party, which was hoping for a revival of fortunes depending on the
non-existent factors like the charisma of Sonia and Rahul and the magic
of the name ‘Gandhi’, bite the dust, with the lowest ever performance
in its history. During the Gujarat elections, the psephologists were of
the opinion that it would end the so-called ‘communal’ politics of BJP
and its Sangh Parivaar by giving a resounding victory to the ‘Secular’
Congress and exactly the opposite happened. Congress was drubbed and
the same got repeated in the Himachal elections, where the pollsters of
the ‘secular parivaar’ were conspicuously abstaining from the
adventurous exercises of conducting ‘opinion’ and ‘exit’ polls.


 

During
the Gujarat polls, the BJP projected L.K.Adwani as the Prime
Ministerial candidate and to the disappointment of UPA the other allies
of BJP in the NDA have also unanimously agreed to Adwani’s candidature.
Since then the Congress, its allies and the ‘Secular Parivar’ including
the mainstream media have been going all out in projecting Rahul as the
future Prime Minister. His visits to the tribal areas, his spending
time in a Schedule Caste’s house, his sojourn in a SC or ST colony, his
eating with them have all been projected as though this country has not
seen such leaders before! His ‘reading’ of a prepared speech has been
hyped as a historic achievement! As he embarked on a ‘Discovery of
India’ tour, he started his southern trip from Karnataka by making his
maiden visit to a tribal area. The Congressmen of Karnataka thought
that he would continue till the elections, but to their utter dismay,
he went back to Delhi and even during the election campaign he and his
mother have not made any impact on the electorate.


 




 In
order to help the Congress party and make an impact in the minds of the
people, the secular brigade adopted itself to the only strategy it
knows, that is ‘engineering’ opinions and trying to influence the
electorate through those opinions. In it’s over anxiety, the secular
parivaar has termed the Karnataka election as a referendum for the UPA
government’s performance and the Prime Ministerial candidature of
L.K.Adwani. They also look up to the Karnataka election as a preamble
to the forthcoming Lokh Sabha elections.



 


The
‘CNN IBN-Deccan Herald’ combine engaged the ‘Centre for the Study of
Developing Societies’ to conduct an opinion poll before the Karnataka
assembly Polls. It came out with the results that the Congress would
capture 114 seats out of 224, which would be a slender but clear
majority to form a government on its own. It gave 60 seats to BJP and
37 seats to JD (S). This would be a plus of 49 seats for Congress when
compared with the 2004 elections, a minus of 19 seats for the BJP and a
minus of 21 seats for JD (S). It said that the Congress would capture a
vote share of 39% against BJP’s 28%, JD’s 20% and BSP’s 2%. By
contradicting itself and without any sense of logic, the report said
that 27% preferred Yeddiyurappa as the Chief Minister, while 22%
preferred H.D.Kumarasamy and 16% preferred S.M.Krishna. The anomaly
here is that, the people would not vote for a party, which has
announced a candidate whom the very same people prefer, but vote for a
party, which hasn’t announced a CM candidate due to heavy internal
bickering, giving it a clear majority! This is what the secular brigade
did exactly in Gujarat also. They projected Modi as the most preferred
Chief Minister, but predicted Congress as a clear winner.


 


The
Congress Party being in power at the centre and wanting to capture in
Karnataka too, has utilized the services of the Intelligence Bureau to
influence the masses by engineering an opinion poll in its favour. The
IB had predicted that Congress would win in 40 of the 89 seats in
Southern Karnataka, which was going to poll in Phase-I, giving 28 seats
to JD (S) and only 18 seats to BJP. BJP was supposed to be weak in
Southern Karnataka, which includes the city of Bangalore also. On the
other hand the NDTV, which also belong to the Secular Parivar, had
given a totally different prediction in its ‘Exit Poll’. It said that
BJP would capture 31 seats followed by JD (S) 25 and Congress at the
last with 23 seats. With regards to Bangalore city, NDTV gave 14 seats
to BJP out of 28, which is 50%. The point to note here is that, if
BJP could come out successful in its supposedly weak area of Southern
Karnataka, then it could be expected to sail through easily in the
other two areas of central Karnataka, a fairly better wicket and
Northern Karnataka, its best bastion.            


 


After
having seen the exit poll results, the Congress party, which got the
‘true’ picture from the IB refrained itself from publishing the
‘engineered’ opinion polls of the second and third phases, for its own
reasons. With regards to the second phase of 66 seats, went for poll on
16 May, the NDTV predicted 32 to 42 seats for BJP followed by 15 to 20
seats for Congress and 8 to 12 seats for the JD (S). Even on the
assumption that BJP wins only 32 seats, it comes close to 50% of
Central Karnataka. The Northern Karnataka, which went to polls on 22
May in the third phase, NDTV has predicted 30 to 40 seats to BJP
followed by 20 t0 30 seats to Congress and 10 to 12 seats for JD (S).
Here again even the lowest possible figure of 30 seats is close to 50%
of the electorate in favour of BJP.  


 

As
per the total exit poll predictions of NDTV, the BJP is expected to
finish with not less than 115 seats, which comfortably crosses the half
way mark of 112 in the 224-member assembly. The most important
point to note here is that, if this channel, a confirmed member of the
‘secular parivar’ could give a clear majority for BJP, then the real
picture must be definitely more than what it has predicted.
On
the contrary, CNN IBN, which is as secular as NDTV had predicted a
‘hung assembly’, not withstanding its own opinion poll giving clear
majority to Congress.
The channel has said that Congress would get
86 seats with 35% vote share followed by BJP with 79 seats and 30% vote
share and JD (S) with 45 seats retaining its vote share of 21%. Another
exit poll conducted after the third phase has given 43 to 53 seats to
BJP and 9 to 14 seats for Congress and 6 to 12 seats for the JD (S),
which goes to show that BJP is all the way to the Vidhana Soudha for
forming its first government in the South of the Vindhyas.


 



Sources
from Karnataka have more or less confirmed the clear majority for BJP.
They are of the opinion that the party’s campaigning has been
meticulously planned, focusing mainly on stable government, good
governance and development.
The party, hugely supported by Gujarat
Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been a big hit among the youth of
Karnataka, has carefully refrained itself from depending more on
‘Hindutva’, which has made the campaigning of Congress and JD (S)
difficult. Even the Gujarat CM has loaded his speeches only with
development, apart from attacking the Congress and UPA on inflation,
price rise, pathetic internal security and terrorism, mess in
agriculture, farmers suicides and the total non-governance. The
‘speech writers’ of the Congress party and its secular brigade have
refrained from indulging in personal attack on BJP leaders, as the
‘Merchant of Death’ issue is still green in their mind.
Many
top BJP leaders have toured the state and they have taken up the
‘betrayal’ issue of the Gowdas also vehemently. Surprisingly, as per
the sources in Karnataka, ala Gujarat, a considerable section of
Muslims also have voted in favour of BJP.


 



With
regards to Congress, the party has been riddled with factions and
infighting was openly seen even during campaigns and its continuance of
the ‘failed’ strategy of placing candidates and playing vote bank
politics based on the caste and religious considerations have
displeased the people, who have been already agitated against volatile
issues like price rise and terrorism.
The JD (S) has been in a
pathetic state of affairs due to its own making. The party, which
performed well in the local body elections, has lost its credibility by
the clownish behaviour of the senior and junior Gowdas exhibiting their
greed for power and wealth. The party has also lost a considerable
number of leaders and along with them cadres too, who have joined other
parties. The party has gone dearth of effective campaigners and
strategists and it seems to have resolved itself to focus on thirty to
forty seats in order to play the so-called Kingmaker role. 


 



 

Though
the pollsters, psephologists and the secular parivar have predicted a
‘Hung’ Assembly and projected Deve Gowda as a kingmaker, the people it
seems have gone in favour of a third alternative in BJP, as they have
had extremely bad experiences in the last four years due to a hung
assembly. BJP is expected to enter the Southern part of India by
opening its account in Karnataka with a clear majority. BJP’s victory
would ensure the full term (5 years) of UPA government and a Congress
victory would advance the general elections. Come Sunday the 25th, result will be known.



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