The 11 districts going to polls in the first phase included Tumkur, Chickballapur, Kolar, Bangalore, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram, Mandya, Hassan, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar. While filing of nominations would open tomorrow with the issue of notification by the State Chief Electoral Officer, the last date for filing of nominations would be April 23. Scrutiny of papers would be taken up the next day and April 26 would be the last date for withdrawl of nominations. The rest of the State would face the hustings on May 16 and 22 and counting of votes would be taken up on May 25.
All the parties were racing against time to finalise the list of candidates, working out strategies for campaigning and doling out poll promises.
The BJP exhibited its poll preparedness by releasing the first list of 160 candidates, while the Congress and the JD(S) were expected to announce their candidates in a day or two. The BJP nominees have hit the campaign trail and were seen engaged in door-to-door electioneering.
The Congress in Karnataka, in a bid to woo the electorate, had promised in its election manifesto distribution of colour TV sets free of cost to green ration card holders. The party had kicked off its election campaign by holding a mammoth farmers' rally in Davanagere on April 13. The party state unit had sent a list of probable candidates to Delhi for its final stamp of approval. The Congress was expected to announce its contestants list in a phased manner, taking into consideration the constraints it faced in shortlisting candidates.
The move was mainly to thwart any rebellion and any last minute bid by the other parties, especially the JD(S), to make good of it, by luring the unsuccessful into their partyfold.
The JD(S), whose leader H D Kumaraswamy had completed his 'Jaithra Yathra' in the run-up to the elections, was yet to finalise its list of candidates and adopted a wait-and-watch strategy. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had announced that the party would contest on its own in all the 224 constituencies.
It may be recalled that the elections to the Karnataka Assembly were being held ahead of the scheduled 2009 following the collapse of the seven-day Yeddyurappa-led BJP-JD(S) coalition Government in November 2007 after the JD(S) withdrew support to it. The State was subsequently brought under President's rule.