New Delhi: Congress is projected to get a simple majority in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly in the May 5 elections, ousting the first BJP government in South India, according to a pre-poll survey.

The projection in CNN-IBN and The Week pre-poll survey, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), also says ruling BJP is likely to lose substantial ground in the next month's Assembly polls.

The survey says Congress is set to get around 117-129 seats. The party's strength at present is 71. The BJP, bagged 104 seats in the 2008 polls, may get only 39-49 seats in the upcoming elections.

It says former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda's JD-S is likely to get 34-44 seats and former BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and Independents together may end up with only 14-22 seats.

The survey shows that Congress is likely to secure 37 percent vote-share, a two percent gain compared to its 2008 performance. The poll suggests a significant fall in BJP's vote share compared to its performance in the last Assembly election. The BJP is likely to get only 23 percent votes, 11 percent fall compared to 2008.

It says the BJP's loss is the gain for new entrant and former CM BS Yeddyurappa's KJP. In its political debut, KJP is likely to get an estimated 7 percent votes. The JD-S may finish third but with a marginal gain in its vote share, the survey says. JD-S president and former CM HD Kumaraswamy is the most preferred Chief Minister candidate with 18 percent of poll respondents voting for him, it says. While Yeddyurappa came a close second garnering 10 percent votes, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar came last with six percent votes, the poll survey said.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah occupied the third place gaining nine percent votes, while his party colleague and former CM SM Krishna was at fourth place with eight percent votes. The survey also asked voters to choose the best Karnataka Chief Minister till date. JDS chief HD Kumaraswamy led the race with 15 percent votes. Closely trailing him was senior Congress leader SM Krishna with 14 percent votes. KJP president and former BJP CM BS Yeddyurappa was at number three with eight percent votes while three-time former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde came fourth with seven percent votes.

(Agencies)

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