Karnataka State Assembly Elections: FOUR PARTIES IN THE FRAY


Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai during Vijaya Sankalp Yatra Maha Sangama, in Davanagere (ANI)

The assembly polls are significant for national ambitions of BJP and Congress for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Janata Dal-Secular hopes the people will reject the national parties. And AAP tries their luck with a new manifesto

Our Bureau
Bengaluru/New Delhi  

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get a clear majority in the upcoming Assembly elections. The chief minister was speaking to the media at the Ghati temple in Doddaballapur taluk of Bengaluru Rural district. Bommai said, “A lot of poll surveys have been done and it shows the rivalry. Not in favour of Congress. There is still a month and a half to the elections and many changes are being seen.”

Talking about the upcoming elections, the CM said, “The process of preparing the list has started and it will be released in another week.”

Talking about the meeting of opinion gathering of potential candidates, he said, “The opinion of the office bearers at the grassroots level is being collected, and it will be submitted to the Parliamentary Board after consultation at the district and taluk level.”

Targeting the leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah, the CM said, “Siddaramaiah is desperate. The last election was in 2013. Contested again in 2018 and now is dreaming again. It is not important that a person becomes the Chief Minister.”

“What he can do for the people of the state as Chief Minister is important. People rejected him in 2018 and will reject him this time too,” Bommai added.

The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for the Karnataka Assembly elections. The polling would take place in a single phase on May 10, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday. The counting of votes will be done on May 13, the CEC said in a press conference. Detailing the data of the electors, the CEC said that there are a total of 5.21 crores in the state and the number of 100 plus voters is 16,976.

He informed that over 58,000 polling stations would be set up across the state.

Given the importance of the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated visit Karnataka on April 9 to inaugurate an event on completion of 50 years of the Tiger Project. During the visit, the Prime Minister is also expected to go on a safari tour in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, sources said. “PM Modi will inaugurate three-day mega event in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts on the occasion of the completion of 50 years of the Tiger Project,” a source said.

The Prime Minister is likely to hold a meeting with BJP workers and officials, sources said. Karnataka assembly polls are significant for national ambitions of BJP and Congress for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Janata Dal-Securlar leaders have said that the people will reject the national parties in the assembly polls.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will embark on a two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka. During the two-day visit, Jaishankar will be in the capital city of Bengaluru and will visit Hubbali and Belagavi districts. On Saturday, EAM will address women entrepreneurs on how India became a ‘Vishwaguru’. The Laghu Udyog Bharathi has planned another programme of interaction with entrepreneurs and businessmen. In the final event for the day, Jaishankar will address the Interaction with Entrepreneurs Organizations (Startups) on “India’s New Standing in World order & Perspective”.

Former Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) MLA SR Srinivas joins Congress in the presence of Karnataka party chief DK Shivakumar and party leader Siddaramaiah, in Bengaluru on Thursday (ANI)

“The kind of appeal that he (Jaishankar) has amongst the youth and the educated class is phenomenal. That is why there is a big demand for his campaign in Karnataka,” a BJP Karnataka MP said.

Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yediyurappa on Friday ruled out the possibility of his son, BS Vijayendra contesting from the Varuna constituency, and said that he will only contest from Shikaripura, which happens to be his own seat.

Talking to the media, Yediyurappa said, “There is no question of BY Vijayendra going to contest from Varuna. I will tell high command that Vijayendra will contest from my seat Shikaripura”. Notably, Yediyurappa is a sitting MLA from Shikaripura but has announced his retirement from electoral politics.

Ahead of the upcoming polls, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will hold Jai Bharat rally in Kolar on April 9. “Rahul Gandhi will be in Kolar on April 9 and address the Jai Bharat Mega Rally there. On April 11, he will visit Wayanad. He is the voice of the people, you can never silence him. This voice will only get louder and stronger,” tweeted Congress general secretary KC Venugopal on Friday. Notably, the election rally will be the first such public meeting of Rahul Gandhi after he was disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha.

Notably, on March 23, Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a Surat district court and sentenced to two years imprisonment in the 2019 defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark made in 2019 during an election rally in Karnataka.

In the meantime, Congress party has launched the “first-time youth voters” campaign on Thursday ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections in May. “Celebrate your Vote” is the campaign theme coined by the Grand Old Party. While launching the campaign, Congress leader Abhishek Dutta also announced that state youth Congress president Raksha Ramaiah will be overall incharge of this “first-time youth voter” campaign.

The campaign is focused on the 18 to 23 age group, especially first-time voters.

Inaugurating the website dedicated to this unique campaign, Abhishek Dutta said, “The youth Congress workers will visit each and every college and university and prevail upon the youths the importance of participating in the democratic process.”

“Your vote is your right is what we are going to tell the youth voters. We will hold skits, interactive sessions and workshops to create awareness among the youth about the importance of voting,” Raksha Ramaiah said.

Abhishek Dutta said that his party has announced providing Rs 3,000 to unemployed youth for two years and Rs 1,500 to diploma holders. “Youths are not getting jobs due to the BJP government’s lopsided policy. The unemployed youths are becoming a burden on their parents. Our scheme to provide Rs 3,000 per month will help the family to a great extent,” Dutta added.

Raksha Ramaiah said, “The Congress government will fill up the 2.50 lakh vacant posts in the government and also create employment opportunities to the extent of 10 to 15 lakhs per year in the private sector.”

In another important development, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday released its second list of 60 candidates for the upcoming Karnataka elections. Party leaders said they have given representation to all sections of society in choosing candidates. The party had on Wednesday released ‘Karnataka guarantees’ as part of its election preparations in the state.

The guarantees include zero corruption, 300 units of free electricity, guaranteed employment for the youth and employment allowance of Rs 3000 per month until they get a job, farmers’ loan waiver, minimum support price, free quality education, free quality health care, permanent employment for contract workers.

AAP has fielded Rajesh GS from Varuna constituency, which is also being contested by Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

AAP has so far declared 140 candidates for the assembly polls. The state has 224 assembly seats. Political parties have intensified their efforts ahead of May 10 polls in the southern state. The counting of votes will take place on May 13.

In a sign that the election could turn into a battle between national parties and regional parties, former Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy has objected to the use of word ‘dahi’ being used on packets of Nandini curd sold in the State and that Hindi should not be imposed on a product manufactured in Karnataka.

HD Kumaraswamy said that “back-door tactics” of imposing Hindi cannot be accepted. Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets said “Knowing that Kannadigas are against the imposition of Hindi, it is wrong for the Food Safety and Quality Authority of India to ask Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) to print Hindi ‘dahi’ on the Nandini Probiotic yoghurt pocket.”

“Nandini is the asset of the Kannadigas, the identity of the Kannadigas and the lifeline of the Kannadigas. Despite knowing this, the ego of Hindi imposition has been shown. Earlier Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in a meeting in Mandya that he would merge Nandini with Gujarat’s Amul. Is Hindi word typing the beginning of Nandini hijacking?,” Kumaraswamy asked in his tweets.

Kumaraswamy also condemned Shah’s statement, “I was against it. The BJP government, which was silent then, has now insulted the self-esteem of Kannadigas by adding curd to the back door through the Food Safety Authority. Is this a show of the BJP’s power over Kannadigas?”

He also added, “It is a big mistake by KMF to print the word Dahi against the sentiments of six and a half crore Kannadigas.”

The election is still a few weeks away, but one can expect a lot of acrimony and point scoring as the campaign picks on.

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