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Karnataka polls: Barbs, jibes, history, a total sum up of the campaign


The campaign in the cruel summer heat for the Karnataka assembly elections came to an end on May 10. It is over to the voters now who will poll on May 12. The campaign was an eventful one laced with personal barbs, allegations and debates on the history of India.

Karnataka polls: Barbs, jibes, history, a total sum up of the campaign

The Congress with a view of consolidating the Muslim votes continuously accused the JD(S) of being the B-team of the BJP. Both parties however denied the charge.

The results would be keenly watched and it is to be seen if Siddaramaiah would go on to create history. No incumbent chief minister of Karnataka has been re-elected since 1985. Siddaramaiah however says that he is here to create history and not obey it.

The campaign for the Congress was led by Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi. The Congress president created history when he campaigned in all 30 districts of the state His temple run which began in Gujarat continued in Karnataka as well. Interestingly Siddaramaiah who has positioned himself as an atheist also visited several temples and mutts while claiming that he was a better Hindu than the BJP.

For the BJP the star campaigner was the Prime Minister himself. Many would say that the campaign for the BJP picked up in the last ten days after Narendra Modi addressed a series of rallies. Modi did all he could and to counter the Kannada card being played by the Congress, he would begin and end all his speeches in Kannada with the famous line, "Sarakara Badalisi, BJP gellisi."

The JD(S) which is looking to play kingmaker focused its campaign largely on the old Mysore belt and Hassan. The party is aware that it has a realistic chance in these areas and hence did not spend too much of its resources in other parts of the state. The JD(S) is banking heavily on the Vokkaliga and part Dalit anger against Siddaramaiah in the old Mysore region.

In case of a hung house, the JD(S) becomes the most important player. Barring two polls, all others have predicted a hung house in Karnataka with the JD(S) emerging as the kingmaker. The importance of Deve Gowda was seen in the manner in which Modi played with words during his speeches. In the initial phase of the campaign he praised Gowda and said that he was the one who asked to stay back in politics. This was in response to Gowda's statement in 2014, when he said that he would quit politics if Modi was voted to power.

Modi also went on to play the Kannada tag by saying that Siddaramaiah and insulted Gowda. He also dragged Mallikarjuna Kharge into the debate and said that Siddaramaiah had ensured that Kharge a Dalit did not become CM. In the second leg, Modi took a different approach and told the voters not to waste their vote on the JD(S). His tactics earned praise from Deve Gowda who said that Modi is a better orator than Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He also said that Modi does not speak without giving complete thought.

The other highlights of the campaign was the debate around Siddaramaiah's seat. He is said to have chosen Badami apart from Chamundeshwari as he was facing a tough contest in the latter. He however denied this and said that his decision to chose Badami also was due to pressure from party workers who felt that his presence there would consolidate votes in north Karnataka where the BJP is traditionally strong.

The election also threw up some sad news when the BJP's B N Vijaykumar passed during his campaign trail. He was admitted to hospital, but the doctors could not save him. As a result of this the election at Jayanagar was postponed.

There was also son-rise politics during the election process. Siddaramaiah's son, Yathindra and Ramalinga Reddy's daughter Sowmya are some of the prominent debutants who will be testing their luck on May 12. B S Yeddyurappa's son, Vijayendra was however not lucky. He was an aspirant for the Varuna seat where Yathindra is contesting. However the party leadership shot down the proposal which led to immense anger among his supporters who have since carried out a sustained campaign for NOTA in Varuna.

There are three hopefuls for the post of CM. They are Siddaramaiah from Badami and Chamundeshwari, Yeddyurappa from Shikharipura and H D Kumaraswamy from Ramanagara and Channapattana. What will the result be. You will need to wait till May 15. But before that go out and vote as it matters.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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