Bangalore: On the eve of counting of votes, all three major political parties were hopeful of getting the people’s blessings to emerge as the biggest winner in the State, while the Congress was exuding more confidence than others.
The Congress, going by the exit polls conducted by various agencies, is hopeful of holding the reins of administration after a gap of seven years.
Against all calculations by political pundits, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is hopeful of BJP emerging as the single largest party though it may fall short of getting a simple majority. “My expectation is that the BJP will turn out to be the single largest party. It may be a hung Assembly going by the feedback I have from the districts,” he said.
When pointed out that exit polls have predicted that it would be a Congress regime, Shettar said: “In 2004, exit polls had predicted that the JD (S) would get 25 to 30 seats. But, it got 59 seats. In 2004, it was expected that the Congress would outshine all parties. But, the reality was different. So, let us wait for the mandate instead of going by the exit polls.”
To a specific question whether the BJP was ready to join hands with any other party to form the government in case of a hung Assembly, Shettar said, “Yes… we have to wait for the poll outcome. Anyhow, we can’t go with the Congress because it is our prime enemy at the national level. So, the options are only regional parties.”
The Congress, which is supremely confident of forming the government, is already thinking in terms of selecting its leader who can occupy the chief minister’s gaddi.
KPCC president G Parameshwara said: “My expectation is 120 plus seats. I am saying this confidently because our internal surveys show that we will get respectable numbers. Even the exit polls have indicated the same.”
Asked whether the high voter turnout will help the Congress consolidate its vote share, Parameshwara said: “Definitely. The poll history shows that whenever the percentage of voting has gone up, the Congress has got more seats. During the campaign it was obvious that people were looking for a stable government. People in a big way have expressed their anger against the BJP rule.”
If the Congress is sure of victory, then what is the next challenge? For this, Parameshwara said: “People are fed up of the BJP’s maladministration. So, we have to give good governance which will lead to stability. Corruption was the main issue during the BJP regime. We have to ensure transparency. We will have to put programmes on fast track. We have to post good officers in key posts.”
To a query, he said the BJP would be the second largest party. On who would be the chief minister in case the Congress comes to power, Parameshwara cautiously said: “We have to see. It would be decided by the high command and, the Congress Legislature Party may not be taking the decision. There are instances of the party president being appointed the chief minister. But, there are also instances of the Congress legislature party leader having made it to the post.”
Asked whether the Congress will look for a leader from the major Vokkaliga or Lingayat communities as chief minister keeping in view the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he said: “Why not a Dalit? When a Dalit is heading the party and if the party comes to power under his leadership, then why not he become the chief minister. However, I am not sure what procedure is going to be adopted.”
JD(S) State president H D Kumaraswamy and KJP president B S Yeddyurappa were not available for comments. But, in the past, Kumaraswamy had claimed that his party would get not less than 70 to 80 seats, while Yeddyurappa had said that KJP would get a majority to rule the state.