With the Election Commission of India announcing on Wednesday that Karnataka will go to the polls on May 10 and the results will be declared on May 13, there are indications that it could be a tight contest between incumbent BJP and Congress, if opinion polls are anything to go by.
According to an opinion poll conducted by Zee News-Matrize between March 3 and March 28 among over 56,000 people, out of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka, BJP is expected to get 96 to 106 seats, while Congress is likely to win 88 to 98 seats, thus indicating a tough fight. The JD(S) is expected to win only 23 to 33 seats. The majority mark in the state Assembly is 112 seats.
The Zee News-Matrize survey also indicates that Congress is likely to get around 40.4 per cent vote share, followed by 38.3 per cent for BJP and 16.4 per cent for JD(S).
About 30 per cent of respondents though agree that JD(S) under H.D. Kumaraswamy will be the kingmaker after the forthcoming Assembly elections, while 26 per cent of people disagreed.
According to the Zee News-Matrize survey, 31 per cent people believe that Prime minister Narendra Modi will be a game-changer in the Karnataka elections, while 32 per cent of respondents disagreed.
Interestingly though, only 22 per cent of the respondents feel that Congress will benefit from Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', while 41 per cent feel that the foot march will not help the grand old party in Karnataka.
Also, 31 per cent of the respondents feel that the move to replace B.S. Yediyurappa with Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister will help BJP retain power in the state, while 21 per cent do not feel so.
The ABP-CVoter opinion poll had earlier projected a win for Congress in Karnataka, as it predicted the party to bag 115 to 127 seats, followed by 68 to 80 seats for the ruling BJP and only around 23 to 35 seats for the JD(S).
( 350 Words)