Mystery Karnataka Poll Survey, Badly Fractured Mandate, Dalit CM and Worried Congress, BJP

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Cauvery Verdict a Shot in the Arm for Siddaramaiah Ahead of Karnataka Assembly Polls

Even though any judgment in interstate water dispute won’t be fully satisfactory for all, Karnataka has more than one reason to smile after the Supreme Court verdict in the cauvery issue. The Congress can certainly use it in the poll campaign in the Cauvery belt districts.

Bengaluru: A pre-poll survey leaked to the media by unknown people has left the ruling Congress and main opposition BJP in Karnataka both worried and fuming. But it has made the third player in the state, Janata Dal (Secular), pleased.

The survey, conducted by a little known poll agency called CHS, “strongly predicted” a hung assembly and claimed both Congress and BJP should bin their current strategies and work hard in the next three to four months if they want to bolt ahead of the other.

It has given 77-81 seats to Congress, 73-76 seats to BJP and a whopping 64-66 seats to JD(S) in the 224-member Assembly. This prediction was sent to several WhatsApp groups that also feature politicians on Sunday.

The agency claimed that it had surveyed 2,000 people in each constituency, making it a mammoth exercise. And it had some interesting observations to share. According to the highlights shared by the agency, the lower castes are still with the Congress but the upper castes have moved away from it. It also said that the image of the ruling party has taken a beating in the last five years and CM Siddaramaiah’s Ahinda policy is not yielding expected results.

It also revealed that BJP’s “Hindutva” card is not accepted majority people and the saffron party is likely to finish second in the polls.

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However, the most interesting observation was that announcing a Dalit chief minister before the elections could help the Congress gain some lost ground.

This observation made many in Congress and BJP suspect the hand of state Congress president Dr G Parameshwara behind the survey. A Dalit, Parameshwara has been KPCC president for the past eight years. He had lost the 2013 Assembly polls by a big margin.

His supporters had blamed Siddaramaiah for the defeat. Later, he became an MLC and held the home ministry portfolio for some time. According to insiders, he is still in the race for the CM post and wants to play the Dalit card closer to the election.

Parameshwara strongly denied his involvement in the survey and alleged that some anti-Congress elements were behind it. Speaking to News18, he said he had already filed a case against the CHS and unknown people with the cyber cell of police. “I suspect the involvement of some miscreants. I have nothing to do with it. The Congress is comfortably winning Karnataka Assembly polls. I have asked party people not to worry about such surveys,” he said.

The Siddaramaiah camp claimed that the chief minister was initially taken aback by the findings and was convinced about the possibility of foul play only after the KPCC chief spoke to him denying his involvement in it.

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KPCC representatives file a complaint against the people behind the leaked survey with the cyber cell of police. (Photo: CNN-News18)

Among those who received the survey on WhatsApp, some said the findings were shared with them by the JDS media managers and fingers are also being pointed at the Gowdas. A senior journalist who has been covering the JDS for decades told News18 on condition of anonymity that it could be the handiwork of the Gowdas to create a huge rift between OBC leader Siddaramaiah and Dalit Parameshwara by raising the bogey of a Dalit CM.

“There is one more reason for it. All pre-poll surveys are giving the JDS less than 30 seats. It has upset the Gowdas. This survey gives them almost 70 seats. Who will benefit from it?” he asked.

Speaking to News18, JDS chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda rubbished these claims. He said, “We have nothing to do with it. Entire state knows that relationship between CM and KPCC chief is not good. No need to conduct a survey for that. Actually the survey has given us lesser seats. We will be the single largest party this time”.

The BJP also trashed the survey. Its CM face, BS Yeddyurappa, said that BJP would come to power on its own and there was no need of a survey to tell that.

The leaked survey though is still being shared on social media with all kinds of comments and conspiracy theories. A classic case of Whodunit?