Congress will retain power in Karnataka by improving its tally in the Legislative Assembly, according to a pre-poll survey conducted by C-Fore.
The survey, reportedly commissioned by the Congress itself, was conducted between March 1 and 25, after speaking to over 20,000 voters across 154 assembly constituencies. It covered 2,368 polling booths in 326 urban areas and 977 rural areas.
The survey pointed out that access to clean drinking water has emerged as the main problem in the state with 32% of respondents highlighting it as their top-ranked problem. Other major problems highlighted were inadequate drainage system and bad roads.
The survey comes five years after C-Fore had predicted that the Congress would win 119-120 seats ahead of the 2013 assembly elections in the state. Congress won 122 seats at the time. The 2018 survey predicts that the number will increase to 126 in the upcoming assembly elections.
It also says that the increase in the number of seats will come at the expense of JD(S) and not the BJP as it predicts that the BJP will increase its number of seats to 70. The JD(S) stands to lose ground and is expected to win 27 seats, down from 40 last time round.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stood out as the overwhelming choice to return to the post again with 45% respondents preferring him to BJP's BS Yeddyurappa (26%) and JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy (13%).
Interestingly, the survey reflected an anti-Hindi sentiment among voters in the state with 92% of the respondents supporting removal of Hindi signage from Bengaluru Metro Stations while 59% agreed with Siddaramaiah's allegation that the BJP was trying to impose Hindi on Karnataka. Meanwhile, 56% of respondents also supported the idea of Karnataka having its own state flag.
The survey also claimed that a question posed specifically to Lingayats about whether they supported the move to accord separate religion/minority status to them, showed that 61% people who responded were in favour of the move.