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Rediff.com  » News » NaMo or Sonia? Who is trending in South India?

NaMo or Sonia? Who is trending in South India?

April 03, 2014 16:00 IST

In Karnataka, Congress ahead with 13-15 seats, BJP 9 to 12

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Is there a Modi wave in South India?

Has the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh dented the Congress' changes?

Will B S Yeddyurappa's return help the BJP in Karnataka?

With only four days to go for the big battle to begin, psephologist Dr Sandeep Shastri discusses with Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa the trends in South India this poll season.

Karnataka is witnessing a change in trends. Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, the Congress is likely to win 13 to 15; the Bharatiya Janata Party nine to 12 and two to three seats will go to the Janata Dal-Secular.

The Congress, which has been in power in Karnataka for a year now, has done nothing to damage its image so far. The Muslims and Dalits favour the ruling party and this is largely because of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's AHINDA programme that reaches out to the minorities and the poor.

However, this has had an opposite effect on the dominant upper class, which could result in a backlash for the Congress.

For the BJP, the return of Lingayat strongman B S Yeddyurappa has worked for it especially in northern Karnataka barring the Hyderabad-Karnataka region in the northeast. The BJP has gained strength in Shimoga, Bellary, central Karnataka and Davangere as a result of his return.

There is a split in Vokkaliga votes, which could help the JD-S grab a couple of seats.

The Congress had a higher rating in January. Back then, trends suggested that the party could bag 18 seats, but its support has declined recently.

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Image: Sonia Gandhi is showered with rose petals after filing her nomination in Rae Bareli.
Photographs: Reuters

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BJP wants to go it alone in Telangana

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Though the birth of Telangana is scheduled for June 2, the elections are being fought in Andhra Pradesh on a bifurcated state.

The Telangana region will see a close contest between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. This is the trend both in the assembly and Lok Sabha segments.

In that sense it would be wrong to say that the Congress is wiped out in Andhra Pradesh. It is still a force, but its influence is only restricted to Telangana.

The bifurcation has hit the Congress' popularity in the Seemandhra region.

It is a direct contest between the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress here. The latest trends suggest that the TDP has an advantage over Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress.

Many voters believe the YSR Congress is closer to the Congress ideology. The negative impact of the Congress appears to have rubbed off on the YSR Congress.

The TDP, on the other hand, is expected to gain from the support of the Kamma community. The Reddy votes will be split between the splinter groups and the YSR Congress.

The TDP could look to further consolidate its position if it allies with the BJP. However, for now the BJP seems divided over Telangana.

What I understand is that the BJP wants to go it alone in Telangana and partner with the TDP in Seemandhra. The TDP is, however, insisting on an alliance across the state.

The BJP has a strong vote share in Telangana and would make inroads, but in Seemandhra it will have to depend on the TDP to make a mark.

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Image: A worker paints a cut-out of a lotus at a workshop ahead of the election.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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Advantage Jaya

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Jayalalithaa's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will win a majority of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. The DMK will come second.

The BJP and its allies need to change the mindset of voters who believe that the party's focus is restricted to north India and Karnataka.

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Image: Jayalalithaa's AIADMK is expected to get maximum gains in Tamil Nadu.
Photographs: Reuters

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UDF ahead in Kerala

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

The ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front has the current advantage in Kerala; the Left Democratic Front looks fractured.

In northern Kerala, the UDF enjoys the support of the Muslims; in central Kerala, the Christian voters favour the UDF.

The Hindu vote is split and this spells trouble for the LDF.

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Image: Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy
Photographs: Reuters

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No Modi wave down south?

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Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial nominee, is a major player in northwest India, but in the southeast his impact is not the same.

In the southeast the BJP does not have a definite platform to take advantage of the Modi factor.

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Image: Narendra Modi supporters.
Photographs: Reuters

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