Karnataka polls will be held on May 12. It's a test for the BJP as well as Congress. For the BJP, the Karnataka polls will help test the waters of mass appeal ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. As for Congress, it is all about survival on a turf over which it has held sway.
According to India Today-Karvy opinion poll predictions, Karnataka is headed for a hung assembly in the elections to be held on May 12. If the poll predictions are anything to go by, the Congress looks set to bag around 90-101 seats, while the BJP is set to garner around 78-86 seats. The JD (S) could bag anywhere between 34-43 seats while the others might win 4-7 seats.
The opinion poll sheds light on the difference between the vote-shares of the BJP and Congress, which is just 2 per cent. This means Congress is likely to bag 37 per cent vote-share while BJP might bag 35 per cent vote-share.
Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats and majority mark to form the government is 113.
Top choice for CM
Siddaramaiah is the favourite choice for the CM's post. As many as 33 per cent of the respondents rallied for him, while BJP's Yeddyurappa trailed close behind with 26 per cent of the respondents' votes. In third position is JD (S)'s HD Kumaraswamy with 21 per cent votes from respondents.
The opinion poll results reveal that incumbent CM Siddaramaiah enjoys popularity across a range of social groups.
About 65 per cent of Muslims and 44 per cent of Hindus wanted Congress to come back to power.
Around 55 per cent of Kurubas (the caste to which the Karnataka CM belongs) favoured Congress if the election was held on an immediate basis. The party received support from 37 per cent Lingayats, 37 per cent Vokkaligas and 36 per cent Brahmins (below average support).
According to 53 per cent of Dalits and 48 per cent of Edigas rooted for Congress in the forthcoming Assembly election.
According to 45 per cent of the respondents, Siddharamaiah should get a chance to lead the Karnataka government for the next five years.
In February, Siddaramaiah's proposal to the Centre for a separate Karnataka flag 'Nada Dhwaja' was welcomed by several Kannada groups since it helped portray his government as pro-Kannada.
The Siddaramaiah cabinet had also recently bestowed a 'separate religion' status to the Lingayat community. This was a strategic move that aimed to shatter the BJP's traditional vote base. Interestingly, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa is also a strong Lingayat leader.
The proposal for recognising the Lingayat community as a separate religion now lies in the Centre's court.
Another factor that goes in favour of Siddaramaiah is the Cauvery issue. The Supreme Court's recent verdict in the Cauvery river dispute went in favour of Karnataka. As per the recent verdict, the amount of water Karnataka shared with Tamil Nadu has been reduced. As many as 49 per cent of the respondents said that the ruling would benefit the Congress, while 34 per cent felt otherwise. Another 17 per cent chose the option 'don't know'.
The opinion poll was conducted across all of the state's 224 Assembly constituencies. The opinion poll was conducted between March 17 and April 5 this year.