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Karnataka polls: Campaign begins as close three-way contest between BJP, Congress and JD(S) enters final lap

As the process for Karnataka Assembly election slowly gathers pace, campaigning across the state has begun in earnest. The election is scheduled for 12 May, while counting of votes will take place three days later, on 15 May.

All major parties have announced their candidate lists, something that already caused infighting in both BJP and Congress.

According to News18, a massive rally, jointly organised by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda will take place on Wednesday in Chamundeshwari, the home constituency of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The rally is strategically planned, and it can galvanise the JD(S) in Mysore, Chamarajanagar, and Mandya districts.

The fallout between Ambareesh and Siddaramaiah in the Congress may have raised Deve Gowda's hopes, as it appears that the former will be extending indirect support to the JD(S) in Chamundeshwari and Mandya.

 Karnataka polls: Campaign begins as close three-way contest between BJP, Congress and JD(S) enters final lap

Representational image. Reuters

BJP supporters, on the other hand, seem to be happy about what happened to Vijayendra, but are put off by the way the whole episode was handled by BS Yeddyurappa, the party's chief ministerial candidate.

The Lingayat backlash is a concern for the party and the top brass is likely to meet on Wednesday to work out a strategy to control the damage. RSS leader Santosh, who apparently engineered Vijayendra's exit, will be a part of the meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address about 20 rallies in Karnataka to boost the BJP's campaign in a state where his party is locked in a keen fight with the Congress, PTI said.

BJP sources also said the final programme of Modi's election tour is still being finalised and he is expected to address between 15-20 rallies in the poll-bound state. The saffron party is making all-out efforts to oust the Siddaramaiah dispensation from power in the only major state where the Congress governs.

According to news agency IANS, the BJP will fly in some 40 "star campaigners" to poll-bound Karnataka, including Modi, a host of Union ministers and senior leaders to campaign for the party's success in the ensuing polls. On Monday, the BJP alleged the state administration was not allowing it to campaign freely and was applying rules selectively to create "favourable conditions" for the ruling Congress.

The visiting key campaigners were named in a letter written by the state unit BJP general secretary and party's Lok Sabha lawmaker from Karnataka Shobha Karandlaje to chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar.

Besides Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal, as well as veteran actor and MP Hema Malini will visit the southern state.

With inputs from agencies

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 25, 2018 15:50:59 IST

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