As soon as the Election Commission announced the dates for the Karnataka state elections, poll pundits swung into action to make predictions about the fate of the various major parties in the fray.
Most pundits believe that the current political weather in the state seems to favour the Congress. The party has performed well in the recently held municipal polls.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in charge of the party’s first government in south India, seems to be on a losing wicket.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar will again be projected as the party’s contender for the top post. But while Shettar enjoys a strong following in parts of northern Karnataka, he virtually draws a blank in the rest of the state.
The BJP’s biggest USP last time was its sincere appeal to voters -- 'please give us an opportunity'.
The voters listened to them and the BJP was given a mandate on a platter. But the last five years in power have seen the party imploding due to relentless infighting, attempted coups and allegations of corruption including the infamous Bellary mining scam.
The worst fiasco for the saffron party came from its most well-known leader in the state -- B S Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyurappa, who was responsible for attracting a lion’s share of the votes during the last assembly elections, was ousted from the CM’s post after a slew of corruption charges were made against him. He has now launched his own party and is trying his best to damage the prospects of his former party in the state.
In spite of introducing several developmental projects and schemes in rural areas, the constant infighting and power feuds within the ruling party have hogged the limelight.
The Congress, which is riding high on its recent electoral success, will benefit from the BJP’s messy affairs.
The party high command is well aware of the fact that if they announce a chief ministerial candidate at this state, the state unit of the Congress will rapidly split into various factions against the leader.
The Congress was earlier considering the possibility of a tie-up with the Janata Dal – Secular and the Karnataka Janata Party as the party felt it would not get enough seats on its own.
Today, the Congress is confident about fighting the election alone and is unlikely to be part of a behind-the-scene alliance.
The BJP may do well in North Karnataka but their total seat tally may decline drastically this time. The party is likely to get nearly 60 to 70 seats while the number needed to get a simple majority in the assembly is 113.
A buoyant Congress is hopeful about winning between 100 and 120 seats. The party is also confident about receiving the support of elected Independent candidates.
The KJP, headed by Yeddyurappa, realistically expects to win between five and 10 seats. The JD-S claims that it will win 50 seats but may not be able to cross a tally of 30 seats.
The KJP has already announced its list of candidates. Yeddyurappa will contest the election from his home town of Shikaripura in Shimoga District.