Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar has claimed that surveys project Congress to win more than 140 of the 224 seats in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
Shivakumar was speaking to reporters on Tuesday (March 7) after inducting two former BJP MLAs and its former Mysuru mayor into the party. He also suggested that several sitting legislators of the ruling BJP would be joining the party in the coming days.
The three leaders who quit the BJP and joined the Congress on Tuesday are former Kollegala MLA GN Nanjundaswamy, former Bijapur MLA Manohar Ainapur, and former Mysuru mayor Purushottam.
“BJP leaders joining like a flood”
Shivakumar also claimed that the BJP wanted to call for elections in Karnataka soon after the 2022 Gujarat poll results were out, but backtracked on the move.
“Former legislators are quitting the BJP to join the Congress. In the coming days, we will also announce the list of sitting legislators who will be joining us; discussions are on in this regard. I will not reveal any names for now,” Shivakumar said.
Also read: Karnataka assembly polls: All surveys indicate Congress edge over BJP
He said leaders are joining the Congress without any conditions and accepting the party’s ideology and leadership.
“Several leaders are joining the party at the district level like a flood; some prominent leaders are being inducted here (Bengaluru) as well. It is very clear that the public opinion is in favour of the Congress.
“Our earlier survey had projected our seat tally at 136; now our survey is projecting more than 140 seats. The change has begun. We are seeing it as we travel across the state,” Shivakumar added.
“Congress ready for polls”
Stating that only about 50 days are left for polls, Shivakumar claimed that the BJP wanted to urgently call for elections after the 2022 Gujarat polls. They had held discussions with officials and decided on the dates, but it has been getting delayed, he claimed.
“The reason is that the BJP feels the longer they get, they will benefit from it. Every day, short-term tenders are happening; mobilisation of advance is happening; tenders are happening; and money is being released in haste without looking at anything,” he alleged, adding that the Congress will discuss it and come out with a stand on this to communicate it to the government.
Also read: Karnataka: Surveys suggest Congress win, but Modi-Shah could change game
Asserting that the Congress is prepared for the elections, even if it is held immediately, Shivakumar said the Election Commission, “without giving a chance for all these things to happen,” should announce the poll dates immediately, and “stop this large-scale corruption that is happening.”
He also challenged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for a debate on any forum, as he hit out at the latter for calling Congress 200 units of free power promise “bogus”.
“Hindutva tricks won’t help”
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said the BJP has realised that its “Hindutva tricks” won’t help in this election, as people have become aware. So, they are now trying to win the elections by “spending crores of ill-gotten money they have accumulated through loot and corruption,” he said.
He also accused the ruling BJP of trying to protect its MLA Madalu Virupakshappa, whose son Prashanth Kumar MV was arrested by Lokayukta for receiving bribes, by not arresting him.
Also read: Karnataka court grants bail to BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa
“Madalu Virupakshappa is in Bengaluru. He is seeking protection from courts; they are not arresting him….this BJP government is corrupt and it has to be rooted out,” he added.
The Karnataka Assembly polls are due by May.
(With agency inputs)