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June 2023

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State News

Curtains to be drawn over Karnataka poll campaign today

Hubballi-Dharwad East Vote

Bengaluru, (HS): The high voltage campaign for the May 10 Assembly elections in Karnataka will come to an end on Monday as all three major political parties in the state – BJP, Congress and JD(S) – are busy making their last ditch efforts to woo the voters.

The top guns of all the major political parties were on a campaign blitz across the state in the past few days, even as the ruling BJP has been striving to break the 38-year-old pattern of alternating governments and retain its southern citadel. The Congress on its part is working hard to wrest power from the BJP to give itself much-needed elbow room and momentum to position itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The JD(S), led by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, was seen campaigning with vigour, intending to emerge as “king” rather than “kingmaker,” and to garner the necessary votes to form the government on its own.

“Government with full majority” appeared to be the favoured phrase of leaders from all political parties during the campaign for elections to the 224-member Assembly, as they emphasised the need of obtaining a clear mandate to build a strong and stable administration in the state.

While the BJP’s campaign was largely focused on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ‘double-engine’ government, national issues and programmes or achievements of the union government, as well as a few from the state, the Congress’ campaign was primarily focused on local issues and was initially run by its local leaders.

However, its central leaders like AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joined in subsequently. The Congress party manifesto boosted the BJP chances as it attacked the Bajrang Dal.

JD (S) too ran a highly localised campaign, anchored solely by its leader H D Kumaraswamy, with party patriarch Deve Gowda too joining in, despite advanced age and related ailments.

Modi’s campaign juggernaut in the past one week since April 29, moved steadily ahead with as many as 18 mega public meetings and six road shows so far. The PM canvassed votes for BJP candidates across the state with the poll slogan ‘Ee Baariya Nirdhara, Bahumatada BJP Sarkara’ (This Time’s Decision: Majority BJP Government). Ahead of the March 29 announcement of polls, Modi had visited the state seven times since January, to unveil several government schemes and projects, and addressed numerous meetings of beneficiaries of the government’s various schemes.

According to BJP leaders, Modi’s campaigning across the state has boosted the party’s morale and confidence among the electorate, which they hope will convert into votes and help the party script history in the polls. Home Minister Amit Shah too has extensively travelled the state, campaigning and strategising for the polls. “PM and Shah have put Congress on the backfoot in the run-up to the polls,” a senior BJP leader said.

A number of BJP leaders including party national president J P Nadda, Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states like Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adiyanath, Assam’s Himanta Biswa Sarma, Madya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa’s Pramod Sawant and union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari, among others to have travelled to various parts of the state for campaigning.

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