Bengaluru, Apr 16: With ruling coalition partners Congress party and Janata Dal (S) waging high stakes to defeat surging BJP in Karnataka, curtains came down for the first phase of public campaign for the first phase elections in Karnataka to be held on April 18 in 14 Lok Sabha seats.
Second and final phase of polling is slated for April 23 for the remaining 14 seats. Authorities have asked various party leaders and campaigners, other than voters, to leave the constituency by evening when the campaign comes to end 5pm on Tuesday. However, house to house campaign is allowed tomorrow.
Overall, public campaigning remained smooth amid rising mercury with summer heat, but it passed off without any untoward incidents.
High pitch campaigning was witnessed in many places, especially in Mandya, while in other places it was besides in some of the constituencies including Bengaluru South, North, Central, Mandya, Hassan, Tumakuru. In Mandya where two film stars are fighting it out in this ‘Sugar bowl’. Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of former Karnataka and union minister late M H Ambareesh is taking on Nikhil K, son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
While Sumalatha is contesting as Independent and BJP which has not fielded its candidate is supporting her candidature, Nikhil is the candidate of Coalition partners in the State Government Congress and JDS.
Both Sumalatha and Nikhil are testing their political fortunes for the first time. While sandalwood stars including Yash, Darshan among others from the Sandalwood were vigorously campaigned for her. Nikhil is banking on the strength of his Chief minister father Kumaraswamy, his grandfather and former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, who is also JDS Supremo, CLP leader Siddaramaiah, besides some Karnataka Ministers campaigning for him.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his campaign in Old Mysuru region, also batted for Sumalatha by appealing to vote for her considering the good works done by her husband Ambareesh. During the campaign, a number of raids by IT department and Election Officials irked political leaders and they alleged that it was done on the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah and BJP State President B S Yeddyurappa to defame and curb prospects of Coalition parties – Congress and Janata Dal (S) candidates.
High pitched campaign was witnessed in Tumakuru Lok Sabha constituency where disgruntles over denial of ticket to Congress sitting MP Mudduhanume Gowda came on the fore as he initially showed his dissatisfaction by filing nomination. However, later he withdrew it bowing to pursation by the senior party leaders.
In Hassan, the traditional seat of former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, the veteran politician has decided to vacate for his another grandson Prajwal, son of PWD Minister H D Revanna. Hectic campaign was witnessed in this segment with BJP Candidate A Manju, who quit his parent party Congress in protest against Devegowda promoting his family and denying him the ticket, posing a major threat.
Campaign in Chamarajanagara where former Union and State Minister V Srinivasa Prasad seeking re-entry into Lok Sabha and he is fighting against sitting member Druvanarayana (Congress), who is joint candidate of Coalition partners is also being watched keenly by the state electorate.
Overall the campaigners were made to sweat it out in their attempt to woo the voters in their candidates favour as they had compete with mercury which was at its peak and had even touched about 40 degree Celsius in several constituencies where first phase polling was scheduled.
In the first phase the polling will be held in Udupi-Chikamagaluru, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga (SC), Tumakuru, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagara (SC), Bengaluru Rural, Bengaluru North, Bengaluru Central, Bengaluru South, Chikkaballapur and Kolar (SC).
In all there are 241 candidates left in the fray with Bengaluru North having highest number of 31 candidates, while there are only six candidates are in Hassan Lok Sabha seat. (UNI)