With barely six weeks to go for the crucial Karnataka assembly elections, the BJP is finding the going tough in its bid to wrest power from the incumbent chief minister, Siddaramaiah.
Amidst a series of embarrassing episodes caused by BJP President Amit Shah, two poll surveys have projected incredibly damaging prospects for the saffron party in the southern state.
First, a survey by C-Fore, said that not only will the Congress party be back in the government on 15 May, but also improve its tally compared to 2013 assembly polls. The survey by C-Fore, which was conducted between 1 and 25 March using a sample size of 22,357 voters across 154 assembly constituencies, said that the Congress will improve its vote share by 9%.
In 2013, the same polling agency had predicted 118-120 seats for the Congress, but the party had ended up winning 122 seats. The C-Fore survey, according to News18, also predicted an improved showing by the BJP, which the agency said may end up winning 70 seats in the 224-seat assembly.
What’s causing sleepless nights to the BJP top brass is the party’s own internal survey, which has given the Congress a lead in more than 100 seats. A report by Deccan Chronicle said that ground reports reaching the national headquarters of the BJP indicated that the party’s move to project the “tainted” BS Yeddyurappa as their chief ministerial candidate had “not gone down well” with the electorate in Karnataka.
The two damaging poll surveys come amidst several gaffes and unpleasant developments marring the election campaigns of Shah. Shah had first told reporters that Yedyurappa’s government was the most corrupt ever in Karnataka. In his subsequent rally, his translator, a person no less than BJP MP Prahalad Joshi, had wrongly translated his speech saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ‘destroy the nation.’
Days later, Shah’s interaction with Dalits was disrupted by protests against the BJP leader and a minister in the Centre, Ananthkumar Hegde, who had reportedly likened Dalits to stray dogs.
There are reports that, faced with adverse poll surveys, PM Modi may intensify his campaign in Karnataka in the days to come.