Campaigning for the May 5 Assembly polls in Karnataka ends tomorrow,capping a bitter canvassing that saw national leaders of the BJP and Congress making a strong pitch for people’s mandate in the high-stake elections.
Graft was the recurrent theme,with the Congress seeking to paint the ruling BJP as a champion of corruption,and the latter hitting right back on the party heading the UPA by highlighting the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams.
Though BJP president Rajnath Singh,stalwart L K Advani and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj addressed a number of public meetings,it was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who clearly stole the show for the party.
For the Congress,it was vice president Rahul Gandhi who turned out to be the star campaigner. Karnataka is the first major state to go to polls after he became number two in the party.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi also addressed public rallies in Gulbarga and here to keep the momentum going for the party. Rahul addressed three public meetings in the state yesterday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too undertook electioneering while harping on ‘corruption’ under the BJP government and accusing it of failure to utilise Central grants.
After a no holds barred,all-round attack on the Congress,particularly targetting Rahul Gandhi,in a rally here last Sunday,Modi addressed public meetings in Mangalore and Belgaum today in what appeared to be a final push by the BJP to keep the spirits high.
Elections would be held to 223 Assembly seats,after the one in Piriyapatna was postponed to May 28 following the death of the BJP candidate.
Counting of votes will take place on May 8.
In the 2008 Assembly elections,the BJP secured 33.86 per cent of votes but still managed to get 110 seats,compared to the Congress’ 34.59 per cent which gave it only 80 seats. JDS,with 19.13 per cent,was third with 28 seats,while six independents were also victorious.