Karnataka polls: Internal differences delay Cong's first list of candidates

Yathindra Siddaramaiah was forced into politics by the untimely death of his brother Rakesh in July 2016

Even before Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat announced the dates, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell chief Amit Malviya took to microblogging site Twitter stating that the polling will be held on May 12 and the results would be declared on May 18. HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) will play a crucial role as it is projected to bag between 34 and 43 seats.

Some leaders raised objections over the grant of party tickets to recently joined BJP and JD (S) rebel legislators, besides some Independents, the sources said. In the previous elections, while JD (S) was able to register around 20 percent vote share, their leaders claim that this alliance would further increase their vote bank in the upcoming elections.

An India Today opinion poll in collaboration with Karvy Insights predict a hung Assembly in Karnataka this year.

The improved performance of BJP, however, is not likely to ensure the saffron party of an outright win in the Karnataka Assembly election. The BJP, which is fighting a high-stake battle to topple the Congress and desperate to spread its footprint across the Vindhyas - will win between 78 and 86 seats, the opinion poll shows.

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While the Congress will see its seat tally come down, there is a silver lining in store for the party: most in Karnataka want the JD (S)-BSP combine to lend its support to the Congress while 39 per cent want the JD (S)-BJP to tie up with the Congress in case of a hung Assembly and barely 29 per cent want the party to ally with BJP.

Going into Assembly polls next month, Karnataka's politics has been dominated by several controversial issues in the recent past. Among Hindus, 44 per cent feel the Congress deserves a second chance. The India Today-Karvy opinion polls tried to gauge voter's view on these issues made headlines and sparked controversies.

Following a meeting with Mr. Gandhi, the Chief Minister's office set out a WhatsApp message saying that Mr. Siddaramaiah would file his nomination papers from the Chamundeshwari constituency on April 20 and from Badami on April 23.

The JD (S) has allied both with the BJP and the Congress with the past. Only 16 per cent opposed the Siddaramaiah government's decision while 10 per cent had no opinion on the question. 30% believe their lives have become better under the rule.

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