This is the first time in three decades that arch rivals Congress and JD(S) have joined hands in a bid to give BJP a tough battle.
In the second phase of polling on April 18, 14 of the 28 constituencies in Karnataka voted for either Congress-JD(S) combine or BJP.
Remaining 14 constituencies in North Karnataka will go to poll in the third phase on April 23. Close to 2.67 crore will cast their vote in the first phase. Voter turnout in Karnataka at 5 pm was 57.9 percent, according to the Karnataka Election Commission.
This is the first time in three decades that arch rivals Congress and JD(S) have joined hands in a bid to give BJP a tough battle. The fact that Karnataka is the only South Indian state where the BJP was in power, does give the party an edge in a few seats, such as three on four constituencies in Bengaluru.
The results of the election are to watch out for, as it is a reflection of how well the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance has performed in the past year.
For the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-JD(S) combine agreed on a 21-7 seat-sharing agreement. Of these, Congress is contesting in 10 seats while JD(S) in four in the second phase (April 18).
BJP is contesting in 27, 13 of them in the second phase, while supporting independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh in Mandya. Sumalatha will be facing Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Chief Minister HD Kumarasamy, there. Both of them are debutants this election.
Apart from Sumalatha and Nikhil from the cinema industry, we have South Indian actor Prakash Raj contesting as an independent from Bengaluru Central. Other candidates in Bengaluru Central are PC Mohan from BJP and Rizwan Arshad from Congress.
Other key contestants in this election are Tejasvi Surya, 28, the youngest candidate in this election, from Bengaluru South. Benglauru South is a strong BJP hold and according to political analysts, he does have an advantage and good possibility of him winning.
JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda, 86 and probably the oldest candidate in the fray, is contesting from Tumkur after he gave away his Hassan seat to his other grandson Prajwal Revanna.
Bengaluru North will see Krishna Byre Gowda, currently the rural development minister in HDK’s cabinet and Sadananda Gowda, a Union Minister facing-off each other.
What would people be voting for?
Water, farmer distress and unemployment are key issues in South Karnataka. Though caste politics continue to dominate the polls, many are looking to vote for change. Kannan K, 30, a watchman, from Bengaluru Central constituency, is unhappy with the current government – state as well as Centre.
Kannan said, “I’m not getting any job. Neither am I able to start my business even though I’m eligible for a loan of Rs 1 lakh for SC/ST. I have submitted all required documents requested but nothing is moving forward.”
“For all Modi talked about empowering people, nothing has happened. So I’m voting for Prakash Raj. Let us see what he can do,” said frustrated Kannan.
Name deletion of voters has been an issue. Earlier cricketer Rahul Dravid, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar's mother and Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan said that their names were deleted from the voter list.
Polling booths today have been in a frenzy as few voters have not been able to find their names. Kamallamma, 70, who has been voting in Bengaluru Central was unable to exercise her right to vote as her name was deleted.Apart from minor glitches here and there, polling had been smooth sailing.
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