Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has asked the people of the state to reject Congress the same way they did five years ago.
Speaking to the media shortly after polling began in Karnataka Shettar said, "These corrupt people should not be brought to power. BJP has done a lot of development and other work in Karnataka. Please reject the corrupt Congress and re-elect the BJP to power".
The incumbent BJP, which was staring at a crushing defeat, is counting on a late burst, inspired by Narendra Modi‘s brief but full-throated campaign, to make it a close-enough race to deny the Congress an outright victory.
Pre-poll surveys conducted a month ago, when the candidates’ lists had not been finalised, pointed to a thumping victory for the Congress, but more recent surveys, particularly those undertaken after Modi’s whistle-stop tour of Karnataka, indicate a tightening of the race.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s rallies in urban areas drew sparse crowds, which suggest that the game isn’t quite over yet, although the party’s sway among the rural electorate evidently remains as strong as ever. The disaffection within Congress ranks, with leaders of various factions pulling in different directions, is something of an old disease, and it speaks volumes about the Congress’ inept political management that it appears to have dropped the ball in an election that is so heavily weighted in its favour.
The elections will witness a four-way contest among the Congress, the BJP, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the KJP of BS Yeddyurappa. The BSR Congress of B Sriramulu too is a significant other in the fray.