Bengaluru, April 15 (IANS) High-voltage electioneering peaked in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies across central and southern regions of Karnataka for the first-phase poll in the state on April 18, a poll official said on Monday.
“As campaign ends on Tuesday evening for the first phase of polling on Thursday, leaders and candidates of political parties and independents are criss-crossing the twin regions to woo the electorate for their votes,” the official monitoring electioneering across the state told IANS here.
Of the 28 parliamentary constituencies from the southern state, including five reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and two for the Scheduled Tribes (STs), polling in the remaining 14 seats will be held in the western or coastal and northern regions on April 23. Vote count for all the seats is due on May 23.
“After Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed five rallies in both the regions last week for the BJP candidates, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi for the joint candidates of his party and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in five places, their state leaders have been holding rallies, public meetings, road shows and door-to-door canvassing for the battle of the ballot at the hustings,” said the official.
Modi addressed rallies at Chitradurga, Mysuru, Koppal, Mangaluru and Bengaluru, while Gandhi did in Bengaluru, Kolar, Chitradurga and Mysuru.
The 14 constituencies to vote in the first phase are Udupi-Chikmagalur, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga (SC), Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajnagar (SC), Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, Chikkaballapur and Kolar (SC).
Prominent leaders sweating out for the BJP over the last two weeks are its state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa and others, including K.S. Eshwarappa, K.R. Ashok, Arvind Limbavalli, Suresh Kumar and party general secretary Muralidhar Rao. Party’s national President Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Smriti Irani also came calling to address the party’s rallies in the twin regions.
For the Congress, besides Gandhi, its general secretary and state unit in-charge K.C. Venugopal, its Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and its state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao have been campaigning for their contestants and the JD-S candidates.
From the JD-S, its supreme H.D. Deve Gowda, its state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, party’s state working president H. Vishwanath, PWD Minister H.D. Revanna and Anitha Kumaraswamy have been campaigning mostly for its four candidates.
Of the four JD-S contestants, Deve Gowda is contesting from Tumkur, opting out of the party’s bastion Hassan, from where his grandson and Revanna’s son Prajwal is in the fray.
Gowda’s another grandson and Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil is contesting against Sumalatha in Mandya.
As part of pre-poll tie-up and seat-sharing arrangement, Congress is contesting in 21 seats and JD-S in seven in both phases. In the first phase, the Congress is in 10 seats, including three reserved for the SCs, and the JD-S in four seats. In the second phase, the Congress is in 11 seats and the JD-S in three.
The BJP is contesting in 27 seats in the two phases — 13 in the first phase — and supporting multilingual south Indian actress Sumalatha Ambareesh, contesting as an Independent in Mandya, about 100km from Bengaluru.
As many as 241 candidates, including 15 women and 133 Independents are in the fray for 14 seats.
Though the BJP has one woman — Shobha Karandlaje in the fray for the second time from Udupi-Chikkamagalur, Congress and JD-S have not fielded any woman in the first phase, while there are 7 women as Independents.
Among the constituencies, Bangalore North has the highest number of 31 candidates, followed by 25 in Bangalore South and 22 each in Bangalore Central, Mandya and Mysore.
Lowest number of candidates is six in Hassan, followed by 10 in Chamarajnagar, 12 in Udupi-Chikkmagalur and 13 in Dakshina Kannada.
Key constituencies in the first phase are all the three seats in Bangalore, Mandya, Hassan and Tumkur.
In the 2014 general elections, of the 14 seats, the BJP and the Congress had won six each and JD-S two.