BANGALORE: The mercury continues to rise in Karnataka, literally and figuratively, as the date of assembly election is just 3 weeks away, and today is the last day for filing nomination papers for the 224 seat assembly. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is 27th April and the voting will be conducted on May 12.
The polling time has been extended by an hour to facilitate voting in the excessive heat that Karnataka is facing, and will be from 7 am to 6 pm.
With 174 nominations from the Congress, 178 from BJP, 141 from J D (S), 457 independent nominations and some more from regional outfits, the Election Commission has received 1,127 nominations till yesterday. Incumbent CM Siddaramaiah has filed his papers from Chamundeshwari in Mysore on 20th April already and will file papers from Badami today. BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yedyurappa has filed his nomination papers from Shikaripura in Shivamogga.
Interestingly, B S Yedyurappa has won in Shikaripura since 1983, except only once, in 1999, and Mahalingappa, who defeated B S Y in 1999, a Congress leader the, is now BSY’s poll manager. Not only that, BSY has managed to have all his past rivals in his favor this time. K Shekharappa, his opponent since past 3 elections, is campaigning for him. H S Shanthaveerappa Gowda, a tough adversary of BSY in 2013, is now his aide, and B D Bhooknath, a JD(S) leader in last assembly poll, is now in BSY’s camp.
Meanwhile, the BJP has elevated B S Yedyurappa’s son Vijayendra to the position of general secretary of Yuva Morcha after not giving him a ticket for the assembly election. Some BJP leaders who were in favor of Vijayendra being given a ticket, threatened to resign from the party and join J D (S).
BJP’s Sriramulu, earlier fielded from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district, has now been asked to contest from Badami against Siddaramaiah. Expressing faith in voters, Siddaramaiah said, ‘I am least bothered by who will contest against me there (Badami). Whether it is Sriramulu or Yedyurappa, I have faith in voters, they will not leave me.’ Badami has a large number of Kuruba voters, the community that Siddaramaiah himself belongs to, and is thus being considered a safe seat for him.
On a separate note, activists from AGIS (Association of Green Industries and Services) have drafted a sustainability commitment declaration which they have begun asking individual candidates to sign, to pledge that they will make use of their powers as members of state assembly to ensure sustainable, environment friendly development. Sunil Sood, director, AGIS, said, ‘We can’t blame MLAs for garbage not being collected every day or for drainage issues; MLAs play a bigger role at the state level and have legislative, financial and electoral powers. So, the declaration states that they will work in a transparent manner, partnering with committed individuals and organisations that are already working on sustainability. The aim is a sustainable Karnataka.’ Their larger aim is to have a separate ministry of green economy set up in the state.