The tenure of the Karnataka Assembly ends in May 2018 and the state is expected to go to polls around April 2018. The official notification for the dates of polling for the 225-member Assembly will be released by the Election Commission of India in the coming months.
The Congress government under Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has gone through a tumultous period with the defection of senior Congress leader and former chief minister S M Krishna to the BJP and the possibility of others following suit as indicated by state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa in June this year.
At present, the Congress holds 123 seats in the Assembly while the BJP has 44. Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) has 32 members. It won 40 seats but eight of its MLAs stand suspended.
Although the Congress is facing anti-incumbency, the BJP has also set ambitious targets for the state. Earlier this month, Shah during his three-day visit to Karnataka indicated the party may be banking on the goodwill of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a great degree for them to achieve poll success in the state. “We will fight the election under Yeddyurappaji’s leadership… but it is quite natural that the BJP would reap poll benefits by way of goodwill shown to Karnataka by Modi government at the Centre by doling out grants for development,” Shah had said.
The Congress party for its part is seeing some positive signs as well. A recently held pre-poll survey by C-Fore predicted that the Congress would win the Assembly election with a projected 43 per cent vote share as against the BJP’s 32 per cent share.
C-Fore claimed it carried out the survey between July 19 and August 10 in 165 constituencies in the state. It said that it took responses from 24,679 voters who were interviewed across 550 locations in rural Karnataka and 340 locations in the urban part of the state.