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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

JDS battles for survival in Karnataka’s 1st phase of LS polls

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Bengaluru: The upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka mark a critical juncture for the Janata Dal (Secular), which is grappling with the challenge of retaining its political relevance following a significant setback against the Congress in last year’s state assembly elections.

In a clear-cut electoral face-off, the ruling Congress is pitted against the BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance in the state. The Congress is fielding candidates across all 14 constituencies, while the BJP has nominated candidates in 11 seats.

The JDS, in alliance with the BJP, is contesting in three key constituencies – Hassan, Mandya, and Kolar.

In this high-stakes electoral battle, the party’s 90-year-old patriarch and former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda, along with former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, have taken centerstage, playing instrumental roles in rallying support for their candidates.

Their concerted efforts aim to rejuvenate the party’s base, reclaim lost ground, and ensure the survival and resurgence of the JDS in Karnataka’s political landscape.

For the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have spearheaded the campaign, addressing rallies and roadshows to bolster the party’s prospects. BJP President JP Nadda, along with Union Ministers and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, have also actively campaigned, reinforcing the party’s commitment to victory.

Meanwhile, veteran BJP leader and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and the party’s state president Vijayendra Yediyurappa have been on the campaign trail, engaging with voters and promoting the party’s agenda.

The Congress party has deployed its heavyweight leaders, including President M Mallikarjun Kharge, senior leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, and Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, to lead the charge and energise the party’s campaign.

Apart from the constituencies of Hassan, Mandya, and Kolar, elections will also be held in Udupi-Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, and Chikkballapur on Friday.

A total of 247 candidates, comprising 226 men and 21 women, are contesting in this phase across most of the southern and coastal districts of Karnataka.

Chikkaballapur leads with the highest number of candidates at 29, followed by 24 in Bangalore Central, while Dakshina Kannada has the lowest number of nine candidates.

Prominent candidates in the fray include Kumaraswamy from Mandya, noted cardiologist and Deve Gowda’s son-in-law CN Manjunath from Bangalore Rural representing the BJP, scion of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar from Mysore also from the BJP, and state Congress President Shivakumar’s brother and MP DK Suresh from Bangalore Rural.

With a total of 28 Lok Sabha segments in the state, the remaining 14 constituencies, predominantly in the northern districts, are scheduled to go to polls on May 7, adding further intensity to the unfolding electoral drama in Karnataka.

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