Modi has campaigned in Karnataka on earlier occasions, but what is going to make the difference is the high-decibel pitch in his favour as a potential prime ministerial candidate, which has set the imagination of the urban and middle class voters in Karnataka — as all over India — on fire. Modi is seen has having a clean, non-corrupt image, and if he can convince the Karnataka voters that that the Karnataka BJP will be following his line of good governance, we might see the voters forgiving the party.
Another survey, another set of figures, the same old story. The Bharatiya Janata Party is set to suffer a humiliating defeat in the Karnataka assembly elections to be held on May 5 and the Congress party it set to win. Yaaawwnnn!
But wait, there’s something new this time: The same survey shows the BJP may yet be able to turn around its fortunes if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi campaigns in the southern state.
Sixtyfour per cent of those surveyed for the Headlines Today and C-Voter from January to March 2013 believe Modi can help the BJP recover lost ground in Karnataka.
C-Voter has been carrying out surveys every month for various media outlets since the past few months on voter moods in Karnataka and has been indicating the swings in the fortunes of the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress party in the state.
While earlier surveys showed monthly results, the present survey published by Headlines Today (read here) showed results of the poll carried out over three months, i.e., from, January 2013 to March 2013.
But what is interesting to note that even though the Congress party is set to win, it is seeing a steady decline in popularity from a high of 136 in December 2012 to 118 in the latest C-Voter Survey. Headlines Today website gives the figures for Congress as follows: Jan. 2013: 133, Feb. 2013: 122 and March 2013: 118.
Another give-away from the survey was that former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa will play a spoilsport for the BJP, but his Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP) by itself would not gain more than a few seats.
This means that the Congress will be gaining at the expense of the the BJP-KJP rivalry and not due to any any new-found love for the party led by Sonia-Rahul mother-son duo.
Now, let’s see the vote share in terms of percentage. While the Congress is expected to gain from 80 seats in the current assembly to 118, their vote share is likely to drop by one per cent from 35 per cent to 34 per cent.
On the other hand, the BJP is likely to lose a vote share of six per cent from 34 per cent to 28 per cent, resulting in the fall of seats from 110 seats to 80 seats.
In the third place is the JD(S), retaining its vote share of 19 per cent, but gains in seats from 28 to 35. The KJP with a vote share of eight per cent is predicted to gain about 12 seats for the first time in the state. This is not enough for Yeddyurappa to play kingmaker as he so openly desires.
Now, if Modi campaigns in Karnataka, there is a high probability that the vote share loss of six per cent could be arrested and perhaps even reversed.
Modi has campaigned in Karnataka on earlier occasions, but what is going to make the difference is the high-decibel pitch in his favour as a potential prime ministerial candidate, which has set the imagination of the urban and middle class voters in Karnataka — as all over India — on fire.
Modi is seen has having a clean, non-corrupt image, and if he can convince the Karnataka voters that that the Karnataka BJP will be following his line of good governance, we might see the voters forgiving the party. The main reason why the voters are put off in the first place is because of the perceived corruption by Yeddyurappa and his cohorts.
But observers say apart from the corruption issue, the biggest drawback for the party is the issue of non-performance. They see present incumbent Jagadish Shettar as a non-functional chief minister. Some perceive Shettar as Yeddyurappa’s man since it was at the instance of the latter that D V Sadananada Gowda was removed as chief minister. Sadananda Gowda was not only seen as non-corrupt, but also as a dynamic chief minister.
It was Yeddyurappa’s fear that Gowda would prevent his return as chief minister that led him to demand the latter’s ouster. It was seen as foolish if not an outright blunder that the BJP high command led by Nitin Gadkari not only tolerated Yeddyurappa’s shenanigans, but also gave in to his irrational demands.
Incidentally, an earlier survey had shown that Sadananda Gowda was the best chief minister between the three of them.
It remains to be seen how the Modi factor plays out. The BJP also realises this and are keen to utilise his services for as long as possible and for as many regions and constituencies as possible. They have chalked out a programme of 15 conventions over about a week in several districts spread over different parts of the state.
They want his help to mainly attract the youth and women, who are clearly impressed by the Gujarat chief minister.