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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Battle for Karnataka

Karnataka: Cong study says 110-115 seats
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2013
First Published: 00:02 IST(1/5/2013)
Last Updated: 02:28 IST(1/5/2013)

With the polling in Karnataka just a few days away, the Congress is confident that it will defeat the ruling BJP and recapture power in the state after around seven years.

According to an internal survey conducted by the Congress after the release of its manifesto, the party is comfortably placed, predicting around 110-115 seats. In a house of 224 members, the Congress will require 113 seats to form its government in Karnataka, the only state in southern India ruled by the BJP.

The party has pegged the BJP figure at 60-65 while the Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda is expected to win between 35-40 seats.

However, these are preliminary estimates and the Congress is expected to conduct another in-house survey after the polling on May 5.

Surprisingly, the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, which is largely expected to divide anti-incumbency votes and dent the BJP’s Lingayat vote share, has been dismissed as a marginal force. The Congress survey has given the KJP around 10-12 seats.

However, some state Congress leaders are apprehensive about the party forming the government on its own. According to a senior leader, the Congress will emerge as the single largest party and will require the support of smaller parties, particularly the JD(S), which is already supporting the UPA government at the Centre from outside.

Congress leaders have maintained that any shortfall in the numbers would be due to the rebel factor as many disgruntled candidates are in the fray and might upset the calculations on some seats.

Though the outcome of the state polls will not have any bearing on political situation at the national level, a success will help the Congress to some extent in redeeming its image battered by series of scams and allegations of corruption.


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