Congress’s Karnataka president DK Shivakumar on Wednesday said he did not believe in the exit poll results, which predicted a hung Assembly while putting his party ahead, adding that they will cross the 146-seat mark.
Shivakumar, who was the Congress candidate from Kanakapura constituency, said the poll outcome would decisively be in favour of his party and there will be no such situation, which might warrant them to consider post-poll alliances.
Speaking to ANI on Wednesday, the Congress MLA said, “My first reaction (to the exit-poll projections) is that I don’t believe these numbers. I stand by my assessment, that we will win more than 146 seats. People are knowledgeable and educated and have voted considering the larger interests of the state. The double engine has failed in Karnataka. Such a situation (which might prompt the Congress to go into a post-poll alliance) will not arise.”
The exit polls, which were released after the polling ended in Karnataka, predicted that Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) would not reach 37 seats, its tally in the 2018 polls. However, they indicated that the HD Deve Gowda-led party will continue to be a strong regional player in the state and might even emerge as a kingmaker should the polls throw up a fractured mandate.
Congress leader former CM Siddaramaiah, too, exuded confidence in the party getting a comfortable majority.
“The Congress party will win with a comfortable majority. I am certain I will win from the Varuna constituency,” Siddaramaiah said.
BJP turncoat Jagadish Shettar, who jumped to the Congress after being denied a ticket by the ruling party, said the grand old party would form the next government with a clear majority.
“Congress will get a clear majority and form the government. Most exit polls have predicted that the Congress will emerge as the largest single party. There is no question of a coalition with any other party, especially the JD(S),” Shettar told ANI.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son, Priyank Kharge, said his party was on course to forming the next government in Karnataka.
“The Congress will return to power. We are very close to forming the government. I am sure the counting of votes on May 13 will validate our assessments,” Priyank Kharge told ANI on Wednesday.
“Considering my experience of 55 years in politics, I can say with conviction that the Congress should get a comfortable majority. We will form the next government in Karnataka,” veteran Congress leader M Veerappa Moily told ANI.
Also, as polling for the Assembly elections concluded at 6 pm on Wednesday, Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao asserted that the party will win by a big margin.
“Congress will win by a very big margin. We will get over 140 seats,” said Rao.
According to the Election Commission of India, the majority mark to form the government is 113 seats.
In what turned out to be a high-decibel campaign phase, the incumbent BJP, Congress and the JDS went at each other and pulled out all the stops to woo voters.
After the controversy around its manifesto, which included a promise to ban the Bajrang Dal, Congress tried to redirect its campaign focus back to the bread-and-butter issues and the alleged corruption of the incumbent BJP government.
However, the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, went big on the pledge to ban the Bajrang Dal and alleged faux pas by the party’s designated translator at a campaign rally addressed by Sonia Gandhi.
In this year’s Karnataka polls, the Congress (supported by the CPI), and JDS are contesting on their own, aiming to form their government with a full majority.
In the previous state polls, the Congress and JDS had contested as partners.
The counting of votes will take place on May 13.
This report is filed by ANI news service.