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History in the making in Karnataka: Arun Jaitley

Asserting that a "new history" was in the making, BJP claimed that it would secure a "comfortable majority".
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Bangalore
UPDATED ON APR 22, 2004 08:07 PM IST

Asserting that a "new history" was in the making in Karnataka, BJP on Thursday claimed that it would secure a "comfortable majority" in the assembly polls being held in the state in tandem with Lok Sabha elections.

After the first round of elections on April 20, the party was convinced that the first BJP government in South would be in Karnataka, BJP spokesman Arun Jaitley told reporters here.

Seeking to steer clear of an NDTV poll survey predicting return of Congress in Karnataka, he said the people would see the same party (BJP-led NDA) in power at the Centre and in the state after a 20-year gap.

Jaitley said BJP would benefit from a "strong desire" on the part of the people to see the NDA government, led by Vajpayee, at the centre and to "see a change in Karnataka".

"We are benefitting from both anti-incumbency mood (against Chief Minister SM Krishna) and pro-incumbency mood in favour of the Vajpayee goverment," Jaitley said.

Asked about the exit polls, he said "we always try to absorb the message behind the poll. But psephology in India is still an evolving science. We treat them (opinion and exit polls) as indicators. We neither accept them nor condemn them".

"We also do not call for bans," he added, in an indirect dig at the Congress which has been against such polls.

Justifying his party's claim of forming government in Karnataka, he said higher polling percentage of 62.70 meant greater motivation to the people to come and vote.

Jaitley said in Karnataka, "we have seen an extraordinary surge in the last few weeks in favour of BJP. When surges take place, they defy traditional psephological models". The final results, he said, would be in far excess of what the traditional predictions are.

He also said there was no "visible factor" that the people would vote in diametrically opposite directions (in Lok Sabha and assembly polls).

Asked if BJP would seek the support of JD-S led by former Prime Minister HD Devegowda if it fell short of numbers, he said the question did not arise as the party would be able to form the government on its own.

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