Congress state president D K Shivakumar on Friday junked the exit poll results in which the party, though it gains the highest number of seats, has to contend with a hung assembly. He insisted that the party will win at least 141 seats and form a majority government.
There was a wave in favour of the Congress, Shivakumar said, a day ahead of Saturday’s counting of votes of the Assembly election.
He also ruled out the possibility of return of ‘resort politics’ saying that “era ended 25 years ago”.
“I don’t trust exit polls. I have trust in 141 seats. Our sample size is much bigger. Exit poll sample size is small. There is a major wave in favour of the Congress,” Shivakumar told reporters in Benglauru.
Stating that the exit poll results fluctuate by 20 seats, the Congress state chief said the number he has given will only increase and not decrease.
“I am not disputing the exit polls showing results in our favour. I thank them but we will get a clear majority. This is my firm belief,” he insisted.
Explaining the reason behind his confidence of getting 141 seats, Shivakumar said he has been on the ground and has done his homework well.
According to Shivakumar, who is a Congress candidate from Kanakapura constituency, the verdict will be in favour of the Congress despite the money spent by the BJP and their big leaders campaigning in the election.
“Whatever money the BJP people have splurged, whichever big leaders may have campaigned and toiled here, yet the ballot is stronger than the bullet,” Shivakumar said.
He also ruled out the possibility of a hung assembly and said the voters did not get scared of money and the misuse of the ‘double-engine BJP government’.
“I am confident that by 1pm tomorrow, the verdict will be out. There will be no hung assembly,” he added.
Regarding JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy’s statement that he was ready for a coalition government, Shivakumar said he does not know what Kumaraswamy said.
“HDK was saying his party will get absolute majority. He said this to instil confidence among his party workers. It is his calculation,” the Congress state president said.
He also appealed to JD(S) workers not to “waste their career” and instead to join the Congress.
“I am not the one to get retired. So long as I am alive and healthy, I will continue to fight and will be with the people,” he said.
When asked whether he has learnt about any effort to contact winnable candidates, Shivakumar said it is natural because everyone wants to be in the ruling party.
Regarding the possibility of ‘resort politics’ in the event of a hung assembly, he claimed that “resort politics ended 25 years ago itself, where all the political parties used to bring people together and displayed their unity”.
He was referring to events after elections in the past wherein MLAs were corralled into resorts to prevent horse trading by rival political parties.
“The BJP people have said that whatever number (of seats) they get, they will form the government. Now it seems to be their illusion,” he said.
Shivakumar dismissed speculations about distribution of power even before the election results are announced. “Our line is the same as what our party national president Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi say.”
Regarding BJP minister R Ashoka’s statement that in the event of a hung assembly, the BJP “will retain the cup (form the government)”, Shivakumar said, “Let him keep the cup.”.
Congress general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala also expressed optimism about the party’s prospects.
“As far as predictions are concerned, I would like to say that we are deeply humbled and with a sense of humility while thanking the people of Karnataka for reposing faith in us. Let us wait till tomorrow. The results will be out. It will be clear. Then we will make a detailed comment,” Surjewala said.
To a question on the BJP leaders saying their party will get a majority and is working on a backup plan with the JD(S), the Congress leader said: “At least one thing is clear; the BJP has admitted defeat. Once they have admitted defeat, I think your predictions are correct.”