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 elections.
Currently, 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.
“We have got some surveys conducted,” he said, responding to a question.
The BJP swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka by winning 25 seats, while an independent Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya backed by it won one seat. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) only won one seat each.
The Congress and JD(S) were in alliance during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 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.”
With pressure mounting on the government to make the survey report public, Siddaramaiah 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 pressure on Karnataka government has increased after Bihar government released the findings of its caste survey recently. Bihar was the first state in the country to come out with a caste-based census.
In 2015, the then Congress government (2013-2018) in Karnataka commissioned the Social-Economic and Educational survey, at an estimate of ₹170 crore, 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, but was not accepted or made public.
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 state government.
Meanwhile, 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.