Bengaluru, May 12: The biggest festival of democracy, election, got underway in Karnataka on Saturday morning. The highly-contested election in the southern state--dubbed as the curtain raiser for the 2019 Lok Sabha election--has caught the attention of the entire nation for reasons galore.
While a section of the media has dubbed the polls in the state as a three-cornered contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), others simply feel that it a battle royale between the two biggies--the BJP and the Congress--and the JD(S) is just the second fiddle, which will be forced to join hands with either the BJP or the Congress in case it is a hung Assembly, as predicted by almost all the pre-poll surveys.
On Saturday, JD(S) chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda expressed confidence that the regional party will emerge as the winner and his son and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy will become the head of Karnataka, once again.
Interestingly, Deve Gowda (85) went to cast his vote with his entire family including his wife Chennamma, son HD Revanna and others. They cast their votes at polling booth no.244 in Holenarasipura town in Hassan district.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote, the JD(S) chief said, "We expect a possibility of forming the government, we have done well."
A family portrait of the Deve Gowda clan outside the polling booth, where the former PM, his wife and others have posed together, has gone viral as it gives an impression of a big Bollywood happy family together. The picture truly reminds us of Hum Saath Saath Hain, the hit Bollywood family saga.
Kumaraswamy and his wife Anitha cast their vote in Ramanagara. "We are confident that the JD(S) will cross the magic number on its own," said Kumaraswamy.
It is not just while voting only the JD(S) parivar (family) is together. In fact, several of the family members and relatives are contesting the elections in the state. While Deve Gowda's elder son HD Revanna is contesting from Holenarasipura, his younger son Kumaraswamy is contesting elections from two constituencies-- Ramanagara and Channapatna.
The JD(S), known to enjoy huge support among the members of Vokkaliga community with a strong base in south Karnataka, is hoping to regain some base in north Karnataka this time.
However, reports indicate that all is not well in the family, as Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy have developed differences in the last few months over whom to support--the Congress or the BJP--in case there is a hung Assembly.
In the last few months, the JD(S) has literally turned into a punching bag as both the BJP and the Congress hurled allegations against the party. While the Congress alleges that the JD(S) is having a "secret alliance" with the BJP, the saffron party too is saying that the Congress and the JD(S) are "friends".
On its part, the JD(S), which has to win at least 40 seats to remain relevant in Karnataka politics, rubbishes all the allegations. The party stated that it will emerge as a "king" and not a "kingmaker" after the election results will be out. The JD(S) has formed an alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to fight the elections, the results of which will be declared on May 12.