Karnataka 2018: Hectic campaign ends on a bitter note

The Hindu

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No decision yet on Raja Rajeshwari Nagar seat in Karnataka

A month of high-decibel campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly election — which saw national and local leaders participating in a series of political rallies across the State — came to a close on Thursday evening.

The State will vote to elect 223 legislators (the election in the Jayanagar segment has been postponed following the death of the BJP nominee) on Saturday.

The last day saw hectic campaigning by leaders across constituencies, with both BJP national president Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi signing off with separate press conferences.

Personal attacks

While the run-up to the election has seen personal attacks by national leaders, Mr. Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for raising his family history. “My mother is an Italian. She has lived a larger part of her life in India and she is more Indian than many Indian people I see,” he said.

Shah promises probe

Mr. Shah, however, dismissed suggestions that his party leaders, including Mr. Modi, had indulged in personal attacks.


Karnataka 2018: Hectic campaign ends on a bitter note

He also announced that if voted to power, the BJP would order a fresh inquiry into all alleged scandals of the Siddaramaiah government.

The phalanx of leaders, who had descended on the State from New Delhi and other parts of the country, left in adherence to the poll conduct rules that kicked in from 6 p.m.

The Election Commission is yet to take a decision on the election to the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency in Bengaluru city, where nearly 10,000 voter ID or EPIC cards were found in an apartment.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district and Badami from Bagalkot district in the North, chose to be in Chamundeshwari on the last day where he led a procession seeking votes for himself and the Congress on the ‘Bhagya’ schemes that his government had implemented.

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa was campaigning in Badami for the party’s candidate and former Minister B. Sriramulu, who is also contesting from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district.

The last day of campaigning saw an emotional H.D. Kumaraswamy, former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) State President who is also contesting from two seats - Ramanagara and Chennapatna in Ramanagara district - appealing to voters to vote for his party “to save the State and my life.” Mr Kumaraswamy is also contesting from two seats — Ramanagara and Chennapatna in Ramanagara district

This election has seen an unprecedented quantum of cash and freebies seized in the state. According to Election Commission, since the model code of conduct came into force on March 27, ₹80.91 crore in cash, ₹65.21 crore worth of freebies and about 5.25 lakh litres of alcohol worth about ₹ 24.35 crore have been seized. This is in comparison to 67,935 litres of alcohol and ₹13.42 crore cash in 2013. No freebies had been seized in that election.

The final phase of campaigning on Friday will be house-to-house by local leaders without the use of loud speakers, big groups, rallies or procession.

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