BANGALORE: The Election Commission has announced that the assembly elections in Karnataka will be held after Mid April or early May. Central Election Commissioner is slated to visit the state in the first week of March or first week of April to meet state officials to assess the preparation for polls, after which the final poll date will be announced.
The Election Commission has also instructed for the model code of conduct to be followed right after the final announcement of election dates.
The assembly elections will be held across 224 constituencies of the state assembly. The term of the present assembly is coming to an end, precisely on 28th May, and the Election Commission will announce the poll dates in Karnataka soon.
After its glorious victory in Tripura assembly elections and sound performance in Nagaland also, the BJP is eyeing Karnataka, which is the last large state under Congress rule. Not only BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yedyurappa, but also star campaigner Yogi Adityanath (CM of Uttar Pradesh), Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah have been touring the state extensively.
During the recent culmination of BJP’s Jan Suraksha Yatra in Mangalore, Yogi Adityanath said, ‘If North East can get rid of Left forces and Congress, then I think it is time for Karnataka to do the same too.’ Alleging the present Siddaramaiah-led Congress govt. of corruption, he said also went on to say that this govt. was in support of ‘jihadi elements’ and people are feeling insecure under this rule. Also accusing the state Congress govt. of being anti-Hindu and anti-farmer, he said that the Congress was using Karnataka as an ATM to and using the state’s money to fund its activities.
The Congress, on the other hand, is keen to retain power in Karntaka and incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also not left any stone unturned, literally and figuratively, to woo the electorate. Congress national head Rahul Gandhi and several party bigwigs also have been visiting the state and holding massive rallies regularly.
Siddaramaiah enjoys considerable clout in the party and despite being a state leader, has pitched himself against national leaders from the BJP like Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. Dismissing the claims of Modi magic and anti-incumbency sentiment in the state, he has expressed confidence that the Congress will return to power in the state since he has done good work in the past 5 years.
H D Kumaraswamy, former CM of Karnataka, and state head of Janata Dal (S), the third player in the ring, alleged that both the Congress and the BJP have sidelined the more pertinent issue of development in Karnataka and are indulging in divisive politics. Pointing out that at the death of hundreds of infants in a hospital in Yogi Adityanath’s constituencies, he wondered how the latter was a part of Jan Suraksha yatra. He said that both the parties had ignored the state and indulged in politics of hatred instead, which is why both deserved to be rejected by the voters.