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'Modi will not actively campaign for Karnataka polls'

Last updated on: April 2, 2013 14:23 IST

'Karnataka is ready to give Congress a mandate'

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Vicky Nanjappa

It appears to be difficult to predict who would be the clear winner in the May 5 Karnataka assembly elections, but according to leading psephologist Sandeep Shastri, the Congress looks to be on top of the table for now.

In an interview with rediff.com Vicky Nanjappa, Shastri, whose book, 'Karnataka politics: The road taken, the journey ahead' has received acclaim, says that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not be at the forefront of the Bharatiya Janata Party campaign in Karnataka, as he wouldn't want to be associated with a losing side. 

What are your predictions for the Karnataka assembly elections?

It is actually too early to make any predictions, but as of now it appears that the Congress would be on top of the table followed by the BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular.

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Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters
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'BJP in a weak position in the state'

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Will the Congress be able to form a government on its own?

Firstly, we must understand that the people are ready to give the Congress a mandate. But is the Congress ready to accept that or not? For the Congress to come into power, four factors are vital.

1. How effective is the party's choice of candidates? Voters today do not consider only the party, but also its candidates. Hence, the Congress cannot just rely on its name alone to win in Karnataka.

2. How united is the Congress in Karnataka? Every one appears to be a chief ministerial candidate and in the bargain each one is undercutting the aspiration of their rivals. This will affect its prospects.

3. How well-organised is the Congress campaign? Will they put up an united front?

4. The Congress appears to be banking more on an anti-establishment sentiment. It needs to realise that even the JD-S is relying on the same. However, this alone will not help the party cross the 50 per cent mark.

Who is the Congress candidate for CM?

I would not want to name any person. But I would say that whoever the Congress high command names will be accepted by all. This has always been the party's culture.

What about the BJP?

It came to power on the agenda that it is a party with a difference. But today it is in a weak position.

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Image: Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar

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'Modi will not actively campaign for Karnataka polls'

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There is a lot of dependency on Narendra Modi. Will he be able to change the prospects of the BJP this time?

I have my doubts if Modi will actively take part in the Karnataka assembly election campaign. Modi is well aware that this is a losing campaign. He did not take part in the Uttar Pradesh campaign for the very same reason.

But you will see a lot of Modi during the elections in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, as the BJP will surely emerge victorious there. You will also see a lot of Modi in Karnataka during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

What about the JD-S?

It would be in the third position, but one needs to see if it can make inroads into newer constituencies.

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Image: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
Photographs: Reuters
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'Yeddyurappa's party will be a spoiler'

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What are the chances of the Karnataka Janata Party headed by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa?

The KJP will be a spoiler. Moreover, this party has a limited agenda and that is to finish the BJP.

If no party gets a majority what do you think the coalition combination would be?

At the moment, it does not appear that Karnataka would have a coalition. I feel that the single largest party would form the government with the help of the independents who are likely to win in large numbers this time.


Image: Former chief minister B S Yeddyurrappa

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