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April 25, 2024

“Karnataka Polls 2024: Congress and BJP Lock Horns Again Less Than a Year After Assembly Elections”

Less than a year after a fierce triangular contest in the Karnataka Assembly elections, the political stage is set for another showdown as the Congress and BJP gear up for the Lok Sabha elections in the state. The first phase, covering 14 Lok Sabha seats, is scheduled for voting on Friday, marking a crucial battleground for both parties.

Unlike the assembly elections in May last year, where the Congress, BJP, and JD(S) engaged in a triangular contest, this time it’s a direct face-off between the ruling Congress and the BJP-JD(S) combine. A total of 247 candidates, including 21 women, are contesting in the first phase across southern and coastal districts of Karnataka.

Over 2.88 crore eligible voters are expected to cast their votes in 30,602 polling stations between 7 am to 6 pm. While the Congress is contesting in all 14 seats, the BJP has fielded candidates in 11 seats, with its alliance partner JD(S) contesting in the remaining three.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress and JD(S) alliance secured only one seat each out of these 14 segments, while the BJP clinched 11 seats and supported an independent candidate to victory in Mandya. Now, with the Congress eager to make a comeback after its defeat in the assembly elections, the stakes are high.

Karnataka holds significant importance for the BJP in South India, being the only state in the region where it has previously held power. With the alliance partner JD(S) striving to maintain its political relevance post-assembly elections, the electoral dynamics are crucial for all parties involved.

Security measures are stringent, with 1.4 lakh polling officials deployed for the first phase, along with micro-observers and a substantial police presence. Additionally, webcasting will cover most polling stations, ensuring transparency and monitoring.

Prominent candidates in the fray include HD Kumaraswamy from Mandya, CN Manjunath from Bangalore Rural on a BJP ticket, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar from Mysore, and DK Suresh of Congress from Bangalore Rural. Notable contests include Tejasvi Surya from Bangalore South against Sowmya Reddy of Congress and Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje from Bangalore North against M V Rajeev Gowda of Congress.

The election is crucial for the Congress, especially in Vokkaliga-dominated districts, testing the leadership of state unit chief Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. For the JD(S), led by Kumaraswamy, it’s about proving their continued relevance in the region.

The BJP, under state president BY Vijayendra, aims to maintain its supremacy and consolidate its position, particularly in the face of criticism over leadership choices. Leveraging the “Modi factor” and focusing on populist schemes, parties are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to woo voters.

As Karnataka heads to the polls, the political landscape is charged with anticipation and expectation, as parties vie for dominance in this critical electoral battleground.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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