Narendra Modi factor has dimmed chances of BJP in State: Siddaramaiah

While the Congress in Karnataka feels that its prospects would only improve as Lok Sabha elections near, the Bharatiya Janata Party feels that the political situation at the ground level in the State has changed since the The Hindu-CNN-IBN-CSDS Election Survey was conducted in June this year and may change further by the time the country goes to Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking to the The Hindu, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Congress’s position would not decline even if the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, now heading the Karnataka Janata Paksha, returns to the BJP. “Projection of Gujarat Chief Minister as prime ministerial candidate has further dimmed the chances of the BJP in Karnataka,” he said.

The Chief Minister believes that the “earnestness” with which the newly-elected Congress government in the State has started implementing the manifesto promises — such as the scheme to provide rice at Re 1 for BPL families — will go a long way in consolidating the party’s position in Karnataka.

‘Status quo picture’

The BJP, on the other hand, feels that the survey “may have presented a status quo picture” since it was done soon after the Assembly elections. A prominent leader of the BJP said: “The situation is visibly changing now and the BJP is steadily picking up... This is mainly due to two reasons – emerging divisions and discontentment in the Congress, and enthusiasm among BJP workers due to the possibility of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi leading the party’s campaign.” It does not mean that the party is hoping to outperform the Congress, but to move on from the miserable defeat in the Assembly elections to give a fight to the Congress and ensure that the difference in terms of seats is not too much between them, sources said. The BJP’s think tank, which is in the process of evolving a strategy for the Lok Sabha elections, is optimistic of the party touching 30 per cent vote share.

Another BJP leader claimed that the prospects of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa either returning to the party fold or having a formal or informal pre-poll alliance with the party may also improve its prospects.

‘Better position’

Janata Dal (Secular), Principal Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, expressed satisfaction over the improved party position in CSDS survey, up 2 per cent from 2009. The former Chief Minister and State JD (S) president H.D. Kumaraswamy said that party’s position was “much better than what the opinion poll depicts.”

Mr. Kumaraswamy said that if elections were held as per the schedule and not earlier, Congress, which appears to be in a comfortable position in the survey (+ 9) would lose heavily because of infighting and dissidence against Mr. Siddaramaiah.

People were already disappointed with the State budget presented by the Chief Minister, he said. “Opposition parties will improve significantly in Karnataka by May,” Mr. Kumaraswamy claimed.

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