Former PM HD Devegowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S) will emerge kingmakers in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls, predicts a Times Now-VPR opinion poll.
This comes a week after an India Today-Karvy Insights also predicted a hung assembly for the important state polls. The May 12 polls are being perceived as the semifinals ahead of the 2019 assembly polls.
The survey predicts that the BJP will win 85 to 93 seats with the ruling Congress slated to win 87 to 95 seats.
According to this survey, the JD(S) will win 36 to 44 seats, putting them in the driver seat to decide with whom the party will form a coalition government. A party or a coalition needs a minimum of 113 members' support to form government in the 224 seat state assembly.
As the number suggests JD(S) can choose to support any of the national parties to form the government. In the past, the party has lent support to both national parties.
In the run up to the election, all the three parties have claimed that there is no possibility of an alliance.
After the 2013 polls, the Congress emerged as a clear winner with 121 seats while the BJP and JD(S) managed 40 seats each.
Going by regions, in Central Karnataka where the BJP is traditionally strong, BJP is touted to bag 20 to 24 seats while the Congress is set to get 8-12 seats and the JD(S) only 2-4, according to the survey.
Interestingly, the survey predicts Congress to pip the BJP in the coastal region winning 9-13 seats while the BJP gets 6-10 seats.
The survey predicts a rout for the BJP in the north Karnataka region with BJP winning 34-42 seats in the Lingayat bastion.
The JD(S) is slated to win 36-44 seats in the Old Mysore region leaving 18-22 seats for the Congress.
The India Today-Karvy Insights survey predicted 90-101 seats for the Congress, and 78-86 seats for the BJP and the JD(S) to win 34-43.
Even a TV9 Kannada-C-Voter opinion poll published in January predicted similar figures with which JD(S) can call the shots.
That pre-poll survey predicted the ruling Congress will manage 102 seats –11 short of the magic number. The BJP and JD(S) were predicted to win 96 and 25 seats each.