Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said the Congress expects to win between 15 and 20 seats in the state, in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats.
“The Congress party will win around 20 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections. We don’t lie like the BJP, claiming to win all 28 seats in the state. Our expectation is that we may win between 15 and 20 seats,” Siddaramaiah said while speaking to reporters here.
“We have got some surveys done,” he said, responding to a question.
The BJP swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka by winning 25 seats, while an independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya) backed by it won one seat. The Congress and JD(S) won one seat each.
The Congress and JD(S) were in alliance during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, while this time around the regional party has partnered with the BJP to face the upcoming elections.
Noting that when he was chief minister earlier, the Socio-Economic and Education Survey report, popularly known as the “caste census”, was not ready, Siddaramaiah, in response to a question, said, then the coalition government that came to power with H D Kumaraswamy as the chief minister did not accept the report. Also, the BJP that came to power thereafter too did not accept it. “Now if the report is submitted, we will take it.”
To a question seeking that the report should at least be allowed to come into the public domain for discussion, he said, “the report is yet to be submitted, no one knows as to what’s in it. Once it is given, let’s see, let’s discuss it.”
The then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government (2013-2018) in 2015 commissioned the Social-Economic and Educational survey, at an estimated cost of ₹170 crore in the state, the findings of which have not been made public yet.
The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes under its then chairperson H Kantharaju was tasked with preparing a caste census report. The survey work was completed in 2018, towards the end of Siddaramaiah’s first tenure as chief minister, but was not accepted or made public.
With pressure mounting on his government, from a certain section, to make public the state’s survey, following the Bihar government releasing the findings of its caste survey recently, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that a decision will be taken once he receives the report from the current panel.
The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes under its current Chairman K Jayaprakash Hegde, which has the caste census findings, has been given time till January 31 to submit the report to the government.
Karnataka’s two dominant communities — Vokkaliags and Lingayats — have expressed reservations about the survey, calling it unscientific, and have demanded that it be rejected and a fresh survey be conducted.