Read more Lotus’, saying the BJP would get 120 to 125 seats in the Assembly election and return to power.
Stating that the party would prove the exit polls wrong, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said that the “primary reports” obtained post-elections on Wednesday suggested that her party was getting an absolute majority.
The term ‘Operation Lotus’ was coined several years ago by the opposition Congress and the JD(S) in the state, referring to alleged attempts by the BJP earlier to “poach opposition MLAs” when it failed to get a majority on its own.
The predictions were also rejected by other BJP leaders including Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai, who remained confident the Bharatiya Janta Party will get hit the majority mark in the state. The counting of votes will take place on May 13.
The Election Commission (EC) has also rejected the Congress’ claim that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in the May 10 Karnataka assembly polls were previously deployed in South Africa and asked the party to bring to justice “rumour-mongers” who targeted it with false information.
In a letter addressed to Randeep Singh Surjewala, the AICC in charge of Karnataka, the EC said it had used new EVMs manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Limited for the polls in the southern state.
The Congress had written to the poll panel on May 8, raising concerns and seeking clarification over the deployment in the Karnataka election of EVMs previously deployed in South Africa and that too, without going through the process of revalidation and re-verification.
Citing records, the poll panel said the Congress had specific knowledge that only newly ECIL-produced EVMs would be used in Karnataka. It said Congress representatives participated in each stage of EVM movement and commissioning for the Karnataka polls.
The poll panel asserted it never sent EVMs to South Africa. It also said the fact that EVMs are not used in elections in that country is easily verifiable through the website of Electoral Commission of South Africa.
While the BJP, riding on the Narendra Modi juggernaut, is looking to break a 38-year-old poll jinx where the state has never voted the incumbent party to power since 1985, the Congress is hoping for a morale booster victory to give it much-needed momentum to position itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
It also remains to be seen whether former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) will emerge as a “kingmaker” or a “king” by holding the key to government formation, in the event of a fractured mandate, as it has done in the past.