Sachidananda Murthy, resident editor, Malayala Manorama and The Week, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Karnataka Assembly polls 2013.
Q. The freebies announcements have started. How many more are to come? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Karnataka has the precedence of political parties announcing supplementary manifestos. In 1985 the Janata party benefited a great deal by announcing cheap food grains for poor, and school textbooks and uniforms for students.
Q. How far will the assembly results have a reflection on the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2014? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. It will have an impact on the mood of the political parties. If the Congress does well, then its leaders and workers will be energised. If BJP can pull off a miraculous victory, then it will claim there is strong anti incumbency, despite internal problems in Karnataka BJP.
Q. What are the events between today and polling day which can drastically alter the expectations of your poll results? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Karnataka voters have by and large voted for a single party, except in 1983 and 2004 when there were hung assemblies.
Q. BSY still plays an important role. Does that signify that charges of corruption and nepotism against him find no takers amongst Electorates? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. BSY plays the role of spoiler. In 2008 he was the white hope of the BJP. Now he cannot propel his party to the single largest position. Corruption and nepotism have damaged him as well as the BJP.
Q. BJP is almost written off by every political analyst. Still there seems to be a perceptible level of support for the party. Will this give a chance to have a hung assembly results? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. BJP has a strong base in several parts of Karnataka which was built up since late 1980s. But its vote share has dropped due to severe infighting and desertion of some cadres to Yedyurappa's KJP in several parts. But BJP remains a long term player in Karnataka, like the Congress and JD(S).
Q. How does Congress get in as a favourite when it is hard pressed to explain in all the Scams being reported it's innocence? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. The Congress as the principal opposition gets the support because of the erosion in BJP vote share. It happens in all states. More than the virtue of the opposition, it is the sins of the ruling party which matter in elections.
Q. News channels are reporting that congress has quelled the rebellion in most of the seats. Inspite of it do you feel congress may fall short of majority? Asked by: Sathyaki
A. Congress high command mounted a high voltage campaign to quell rebellion. Sonia, Rahul and A K Antony personally spoke to rebels, some of whom have withdrawn. Others are in the fray. There is talk that some of the poor choices like Bhadravati, Sirsi and Hebbal would affect neighbouring constituencies. Despite this the Congress has chances of gaining a simple majority.
Q. How far the joint poll of CNN-IBN-WEEK will be reflected in the election results as near correct? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. The poll was conducted three weeks before the electors go to the polling booths. There is an acceptable margin of error for all prediction polls, which are wider than margin of error for exit polls. The Week-CNN IBN poll at present reflects the ground situation. It is to be seen whether the BJP and Janata Dal(S) can pull off a spectacular campaign to sway the voters.
Q. With predictions of JD(S) as more reliable political party will HDK manage a comfortable majority and shock the Congress? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. The votes polled by Kumaraswamy as the most popular choice for chief ministership should be measured against the background that Congress chief ministerial candidates like Siddaramaiah, SM Krishna and others have polled collectively more votes. Unlike JD(S), BJP and KJP, the Congress has not announced its chief ministerial candidate. Even if Kumaraswamy is popular across the state, his party lacks organisational strength and giant candidates to gain a comfortable majority.
Q. Is it correct that congress candiadates are better than BJP in numbers & age (youngsters compare to BJP? Will Congress able to retained their vote share of 34+ percent? What is your say on that? Asked by: email@example.com
A. The comparison of candidates varies from constituency to constituency. There is no discernible common factor. The Congress would be able to retain its vote share and may add a percentage or two more.
Q. How would you consider BJP's core constituency in Mumbai Karnataka and Coastal Karnataka and Bangalore Urban is swinging? BJP seems to have focussed its campaign strongly in these regions specially the seats it is betting to capture. Asked by: CP
A. Yes, BJP is focussing on these regions, with Jagdish Shettar telling voters in Mumbai Karnataka that he is the only chief ministerial candidate of any party from this region. Similarly in coastal Karnataka the BJP is pressing hard its traditional advantages. In Bangalore it is hoping that JD(S) would cut into Congress votes.
Q. The CNN-IBN - pre-poll survey was held before the announcement of candidates. Now that there is infighting within Congress due to this and therefore the rebel candidates, do you think Congress' majority will decrease from 117-129, what you had predicted? Asked by: Shankar S Menon
A. The Week[CNN IBN poll predicts a gap of 14 per cent vote share between Congress(37 per cent) and BJP (23 percent). It is unlikely that the rebels would snatch this huge difference in all constituencies. Strong ones might affect Congress in a handful of constituencies. You must also note whether the gap can increase due to good campaigning by Congress.
Q. What are the expectations of the Electorates which have been addressed by the parties in their manifestos? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Each party has identified core issues and addressed them. The BJP has stressed that infighting and corruption are things of the past, and that it would be unified and cohesive, while seeking another chance. The Congress has gone for an aam aadmi manifesto. JD(S) has for the first time urban middle class concerns, while laying stress on its rural constituency. KJP too has done the same, while stressing on betrayal of Yedyurappa by BJP.
Q. What according to you are the factors that will result in BJP's defeat as we find no reason for possible congress' win. I heard there was some good work by BJP. Asked by: chaitanya
A. The BJP's track record of spending more money on developmental activities is evident. But this is overshadowed by the split in the party as in more than 120 constituencies, grassroot workers have shifted either to KJP or BSR Congress. There is also allegation that its MLAs were more busy in resorts than in the constituencies. There is anger in Vokkaliga belt on the removal of Sadananda Gowda and in Lingayat belt on removal of Yedyurappa.
Q. Will Sushmaji, Naidu, Narendre Modi, Arun Jaitly, put together will able to turn the table in Karnataka? Will Congress able to get 35% vote? Asked by: Deepak Desai
A. It may be too late for campaigners to change the ground situation. Good speakers can bring a couple of percent of extra votes. You must remember that in 2008 Arun Jaitley camped in Karnataka for a month and devised the slogan "BJP is the solution" with picture of Yedyurappa. Today he has given up and there is no central leader of similar stature leading BJP. Narendra Modi, with his popularity should have campaigned in atleast 100 critical constituencies. He is holding only three public meetings, according to present indications.
Q. Given that BJP's vote share is concentrated unlike that of Congress how accurate the numbers of seats for BJP would be? Asked by: Chetan
A. In 2008, the bjp won seats in all parts of Karnataka. Though the party has stronger presence in coastal and Mumbai Karnataka and Bangalore city, its vote erosion has taken place due to infighting, split and anti incumbency. Congress is spread across all regions.
Q. If the voters are Karnataka are prudent, then they have to vote a party to simple majority. I hope they are prudent. Asked by: Sathyaki
A. Karnataka voters are not confused. They have had a chance to assess the performance of BJP and also have seen how the 2004-2008 era saw two coalitions, two chief ministers and three deputy chief ministers, and again there were three chief ministers in 2004-2009 and there was operation lotus. There is a yearning for a stable government.
Q. Do you think Congress can form the next government on its own? Asked by: Vishwanath
A. Present ground situation indicates a vote in favour of government. but the party has to ensure that its voters turnout in good numbers on may 5
Q. Will the Karnataka Governor have a major role in getting the formation of a government? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. The Governor has a role only if there is a hung assembly. Then also he has to follow the precedents, in view of court judgements.