Karnataka Elections 2023: Stage set for high-stakes election today; Will the BJP break the estrangement or will the Congress emerge again?

Image source: India TV There is a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress in Karnataka.

Karnataka Election 2023: The stage is set for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2023, which is being touted as one of the major semi-finals ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Voters will decide the fate of 2,615 candidates who are in the fray to reach the assembly. (May 10). The polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm amid tight security and the counting of ballots will take place on Saturday.

Election battle – Congress vs BJP vs JD-S

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to script history to retain its southern bastion, while a combative Congress eyes Wednesday’s polls in Karnataka, which marked the end of a high-octane campaign public discourse was marked by a declining level of And turned increasingly acrimonious on the Bajrang Dal issue. The HD Kumaraswamy-led JD-S tried to make it a triangular election battle.

With the stakes high in the mega battle of ballots, the major political parties in contention – BJP, Congress and JD(S) – have made a strong pitch to boost their electoral prospects. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also fielded candidates in Punjab and Delhi.

Will BJP break the estrangement?

While the ruling BJP, riding on the Modi juggernaut, seeks to break a 38-year-old illusion – Karnataka has never voted a party to power since 1985, the Congress is hoping for a morale-boosting victory to propel it A lot could be achieved – enough scope and momentum was needed to establish itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

BJP has faith in PM Modi
The prime minister, who addressed 19 public meetings and held six roadshows as part of the BJP’s aggressive campaign in the state.

The battle-ready BJP with its well-oiled election machine kicked off its campaign with a stormy campaign by Prime Minister Modi.

It was clear that the ‘double-engine government’ tried to strengthen its campaign, shore up its prospects and rely heavily on PM Modi’s appeal to fight “anti-incumbency”.

Also, it needs to be watched whether in the event of a hung mandate, the Janata Dal (Secular) led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda will emerge as the “kingmaker” or “king” holding the key to form the government. , as it has done in the past.

Lord Bajrangbali’s entry in election
The Congress manifesto proposal to ban Bajrang Dal heated up half of the campaign as the BJP and Prime Minister Modi aggressively played up the issue to portray the grand old party as being against Lord Hanuman and the sentiments of Hindus. insisted on.

PM Modi compared the proposed ban to shutting down Hanuman himself. After the Congress released its manifesto, he also decided to chant ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’ in all his speeches.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai (Shiggaon), Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah (Varun), JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy (Channapatna) and State Congress President DK Shivakumar (Kanakpura) are among the top candidates.

Besides Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy, Jagadish Shettar (Hubli-Dharwad Central) is the other former CM who is in the fray. Shettar had recently quit the BJP and joined the Congress. Bommai and Shivakumar also visited Anjaneya (Hanuman) temples on Tuesday.

While Bommai visited the temple at Vijayanagar in Hubballi and chanted “Hanuman Chalisa” with the devotees there, Shivakumar visited the temple at KR Market in Bengaluru and offered prayers.

Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, along with a large number of Congress leaders and supporters, also worshiped the goddess Chamundeshwari of Mysore city.

Accompanied by flowers, fruits, “thambulam”, incense sticks and pure butter, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar presented a brief copy of the Congress’ election manifesto, which highlighted the party’s five “guarantees” if voted to power.

Talks like ‘venomous snake’, ‘poisonous girl’ and ‘worthless son’ tainted the election campaign as some leaders used intemperate and abusive language.

While Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from Karnataka, compared Modi to a “venomous snake”, his son and Congress candidate Priyank Kharge called the prime minister a “worthless son”, while BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal criticized the former Congress president and Told the MP. Sonia Gandhi As a ‘Vishkanya’ (poisonous woman).

EC action
The Election Commission claimed that enforcement agencies in Karnataka seized liquor, drugs and “inducements” worth over Rs 375 crore, which was 4.5 times more than what was recovered during the last assembly election in the state in 2018.

“A government with absolute majority” seemed to be the favorite slogan for leaders of all political parties during the election campaign that ended on Monday, as they insisted on getting a clear mandate to form a strong and stable government unlike what happened after 2018. Gave. assembly elections.

what happened in karnataka election 2018
In the 2018 elections, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party by winning 104 seats, followed by the Congress 80, the JD(S) 37, and an independent, the BSP and the Karnataka Pragyavantha Janata Party (one each).

With no party having a clear majority and Congress and JD(S) making a bid to form an alliance, BJP veteran BS Yediyurappa staked claim and formed the government. However, it had to resign within three days before the vote of confidence, being unable to have the numbers.

Subsequently, the Congress-JD(S) coalition formed the government with Kumaraswamy as chief minister, but the wobbly government fell within 14 months as 17 MLAs, including independents, resigned and walked out of the ruling coalition, and the BJP got included in. The BJP then came back to power and in the subsequent by-elections in 2019, the ruling party won 12 out of 15 seats.

In the outgoing assembly, the ruling BJP has 116 MLAs, followed by Congress 69, JD(S) 29, BSP one, Independents two, Speaker one and six vacant MLAs.

The BJP’s campaign seemed largely “centralised”, with the focus mainly on Prime Minister Modi, the ‘double-engine’ government, national issues and programs or achievements of the central government, which included states on reservation.

The Congress focused more largely on local issues, and its campaign was also initially carried out by its state leaders.
However, its central leaders such as AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi And Priyanka Gandhi Vadra later pitched in.

The Congress was also aggressive on the issue of corruption, accusing the BJP of being a ‘government of 40 per cent commission’.
But the party’s promise to restore the 4 per cent quota for Muslims was seized upon by the BJP to bolster its Hindutva plank in the hope of consolidating votes.

The Congress claimed that it ran a positive and development-oriented campaign with a vision for Kannadigas, while the BJP aimed to “distract, divide and deceive” the people.

The JD(S) ran a highly localized campaign, entirely led by its leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, with party patriarch Deve Gowda joining later, despite his advanced age and related ailments.

State leaders and candidates of various political parties thronged temples to seek blessings of God and good fortune on the eve of polling for 224 assembly constituencies on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a video message to the people of Karnataka And sought his blessings in the mission of making the state number one in the country.
(with PTI inputs)

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