With the formal announcement of General Elections to the Karnataka State Assembly by the Election Commission of India on March 29,the tables have been cleared for a free for all among all the three major political contenders in the state. These parties include the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), main opposition Indian National Congress (INC) and the fence sitter, power hungry, king maker turned king regional party Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). The state will go to polls on a single day on May 10 while the results are slated to be known on May 13.
Preparations from past one year
Maybe, the Election Commission declared the electoral calendar of events on Wednesday, March 29, but all the formidable rivals have been on a campaigning and preparatory spree since more than a year. The statement holds good to all the major players like the BJP, INC, JD-S. And not to be left behind, the New Delhi based and centered Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is also in the fray making noise every now and then from the past one year.
In fact, all major parties were in tandem when it came to gearing up them for the final battle. Likewise, although differently named, they all had any number of rallies, road shows and padyatras across the nook and corner of the Southern state below the Vindhya mountain range.
BJP desists from state wide Padayatras
Although, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has enough cadre based units right from the state, district, taluk, village and even at the Booth level, the party chieftains never ventured or thought of holding padayatras across the state. This looks like an interesting phenomenon as the hitherto major opposition party was well known for organising similar things whenever it is in the opposition benches.
Other than Prime Minister, Home Minister and BJP President, several BJP ruled state CMs’, Union Ministers and national leaders also have been frequenting the State on a mission mode
However, it was no way behind the other two players, when it came to organising yatras at multiple places. For instance, the party has done a series of yatras throughout the past year, keeping the general elections in mind. In order to arouse a wave in its favour well before the polls, the ruling party was way ahead in holding a variety of yatras. They included the Parivartana Yatre, Booth Vijay, Jana Sankalp Yatre, Navashakti Samavesha and Vijay Sankalp Yatre.
Campaign by Top BJP Leaders
Apart from or all along with these yatras, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, JP Nadda, BJP National President have been paying frequent visits to different parts under some pretext or the other. If Prime Minister paid six visits so did the Home Minister for nine times. The PM also participated in the mammoth rally at Davanagere as a culmination of the Vijay Sankalp Yatra. During his half dozen visits, the Prime Minister also dedicated several developmental projects worth more than 50,000 crores. Other than the PM, HM and BJP President, several BJP ruled state CMs’, Union Ministers and national leaders also have been frequenting the state on a mission mode on the eve of ensuing general elections. Notably, senior Karnataka BJP leader and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and CM Basavaraj Bommai are leaving no stone unturned to bring the party in power again.
Meke Datu Yatra stalled midway
DK Shivakumar, soon after becoming the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), has been moving around the state like never before. A former disciple of underworld don Kotwal Ramachandra, he has been seven times MLA and at the helm of affairs within the party and state ever since he became the KPCC president on July 2, 2020. Much before the pronouncement of general elections, his detractors accuse him of already developing the mindset of having become a chief minister!
The state Congress party also organised a huge rally in Davanagere to felicitate former chief minister Siddaramaiah on his turning 75 years. For official record, it was a show of strength of the party but aides of the former CM confide that it was an event to register the candidature of the Shepherd community leader to the pivotal position in the state. Although, the calendar of events for polls has been announced, the infighting between DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah on who should become the CM continues to remain behind the scenes.
Bharat Jodo and Praja Dhwani
Rahul Gandhi’s much taunted ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ also covered some districts of the State providing another occasion to the local party leaders their ‘strength’ in terms of gathering people to the padayatra. DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah also took part in Praja Dhwani Yatra, travelling the state through bus. Even Priyanka Gandhi took part in a program titled ‘Na Nayaki’.
JDS Pancha Ratna Yatra
Not to be left lagging behind, the Janata Dal Secular regional party hitherto dubbed as the Father and Children and now Grandchildren party has been taken too seriously by HD Kumarswamy, twice Chief Minister with the least number of party legislators, thanks to BJP and Congress. He launched a programme called ‘Janata Jaladhare’ promising launch several irrigation projects. This yatra covered 180 Assembly constituencies to collect water samples from prominent rivers and water sources. HD Kumaraswamy has been pleading the state electorate to return the party to power and he has also been reiterating every now and then that his party will bounce back to power with 123 seats this time! Forget, 123 or any illusion of that sort even 12-13 seats are enough for him to bargain for the plum post in the event of a hung assembly, reveal insiders.