Bengaluru, Apr 15: It seems that Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits may reap benefits for his party in Karnataka Assembly elections 2018. The Congress, which largely gets the support of Muslim community, is likely to gain the backing of almost half of the Hindu population in Karnataka Assembly elections. An opinion poll result suggested a large chunk of Muslims, Hindus and Dalits feel Congress deserves a second chance.

As many as 65 per cent Muslims, 44 per cent Hindus and 53 per cent Dalits feel that Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka should be given another chance, showed the opinion poll results. Muslims constitute 13-16 per cent of Karnataka’s electorate and play a decisive role in 30-odd urban seats. However, estimates made by the Congress, BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) suggest the community could change the fortunes of candidates in between 90 and 120 of Karnataka’s 224 seats.

Just ahead of the elections, the Congress government recommended to the Centre to grant religious minority status to Lingyats. However, only 37 per cent followers of 12th-century social reformer Basava believe the same. The opinion poll, which predicted a hung Assembly in Karnataka, said the Congress would emerge as the single-largest party, followed by the BJP and the JD(S). The Congress is likely to win between 90 and 101 seats, it predicted.

The BJP may win between 78 and 86 seats and the JD(S) is projected to bag between 34 and 43 seats. In terms of vote share, the Congress will get 37 per cent of votes, the BJP 35 per cent and the JD (S)-BSP alliance 19 per cent, suggested the opinion poll.

In the outgoing assembly, the Congress has 122 legislators. On the other hand, the BJP has 48 legislators, including four from the Karnataka Janata Party, a regional outfit, Yeddyurappa floated in December 2012 after he left the party owing to his removal as Chief Minister. Karnataka will go to polls on May 12. The results will be out on May 15.