“Agricultural workers are migrating to cities for coolie work. If it was not for the free rice scheme of the previous Congress government, people would have starved,” says Mohan Kumar, 52, a member of the Honavalli panchayat.
The JD(S) was struggling to find a strong candidate, after former Prime Minister and party president H D Deve Gowda, who was tipped to contest against Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda from this seat, opted for the relatively safer Tumkur constituency in South Karnataka.
The 85-year-old JDS patriarch is yet to decide on contesting the Lok Sabha polls and has been thinking about his "usefulness" in the national capital. Gowda has said he lacked the strength that he had in 1996, when he became the Prime Minister, but there is "enthusiasm".
As part of a broad agreement, the Congress and JD(S) had decided to divide the 28 Karnataka Lok Sabha seats according to their strength in the Assembly: roughly two-third to the Congress (18 seats) and one-third to the JD(S).
Even though most exit polls predicted a hung assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to form the government in Karnataka with a simple majority, handing out a severe drubbing to the ruling Congress and relegating the Janata Dal (Secular) to the third spot.