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BJP, Congress ‘more or less equally poised’ in Karnataka

By Srishti Suman

       

Election fever is high. To gain an insight into the present election scenario, The SoftCopy interviewed Narayana A., who has worked as a reporter for Deccan Herald in Bangalore. He has worked as a lecturer at the Institute of Communication at Manipal University, and he has also been a columnist for the Kannada daily Udayavani.

The SoftCopy: Which is better, the Congress manifesto or the Bharatiya Janata Party one?

Narayana A: It is difficult to answer which one is better because on the whole, both of them are very similar. In that case, I would say that Congress’ manifesto is slightly better because it addresses the problem of distribution, and therefore it addresses the problem of development.

Whereas, BJP’s preoccupation with development without even mentioning their path of development is worrying. Apart from this, by and large they have a better manifesto. In a word one answer, both of them are more or less similar.

To what extent will the ongoing controversy about Narendra Modi hiding his marital status affect the BJP in the election?

That is an insignificant matter. The Congress has picked up many non-issues when it could have picked up other better issues to pass on their message to their voters, but they failed to do that.

Turnout is higher in this 16th Lok Sabha election. Why?

It is too early to predict whether the turnout has really been higher. I don’t think that there would be very big difference. Even if there is an increase, it will be very marginal. You will have to wait till the end of election to get the exact figure.

Why is the “Modi wave” on such a roll?

There are a couple of reasons. The country has been craving for a strong leader for a long time, no matter which party he comes from. Modi has by and large tried to fill that slot. No other party has been able to project such a leader. This is why the Modi factor is such a big issue this time. Moreover, Modi is a leader who has a combination of both political and economic rights.

In the advertisement released by Congress, don't you think that the party has tried to frighten people regarding Modi rather than focusing on the work done by them till now?

Yes. The answer to this question is straight and clear. In Congress, whatever succeeds is their strategy. They have never worked out anything in a systematic way unlike BJP. Their ideology is in a state of confusion. They could have told the electorate what they have done in last five years or so and they could have adopted a different strategy with regards to the charges of corruption that they had to contend with, which they didn’t do.

Even when criticizing the BJP and Modi, they could have adopted a better line or narrative rather than trying to tell the electorate the negative aspects which they might have to face if he becomes the Prime Minister.

Before the election, the Samajwadi Party and Congress were targeting each other and contesting elections separately. But now, they talk about forming a government together at the center. What is your say on this?

That is a matter of convenience. There are a lot of things that have to be done in Uttar Pradesh which will need both the parties. Both of them feel it is mutually beneficial. There is not much more reason behind it.

It seems that many more young people will cast ballots in this election. How will this affect the poll this time?
It is a problematic question in itself. When you say many more youngsters are going to vote this time, that is structurally so, because 50 percent of the electorate might not be below 35 years of age. So, they constitute the single large rope amongst the voters. We do not have exact data whether 60-70 percent of the voters were youngsters or not. But even if they do, the mindset that youngsters have that politics I something we should keep our hands off, this mind-set might change.

What is the role of social media in the present election?
It has become fashionable to talk about election over social media. It increases the possibility of youth involvement.

How do you see the election results in Karnataka and the country as a whole?

In Karnataka, it seems to me that both BJP and Congress are more or less equally poised, in the sense that they might get almost equal number of seats. Janata Dal will not get more than three seats. When compared to the situation in Karnataka for the BJP, chances are slightly more and for the Congress, things have gone slightly wrong as they lose some grounds during 2013 assembly election. On a national level, Congress will not get as many seats as it got last time. There are four states from BJP is definitely going to get seats—Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. These states have 91 seats out of which, I think, the BJP will get as many as seats. Secondly, the BJP will manage to get seats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra as well. But it depend on how they perform in UP and Bihar. If they perform well, they might get more than 240 seats.  

 

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