Stage set for former judge, veteran, and the greenhorn

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A close contest is on the cards in the Mysore Lok Sabha constituency with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party drawing the attention of the voters, while the Janata Dal (Secular), which was late off the block, is attempting to bridge the gap.

The Mysore LS constituency assumes significance as it is the home turf of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Though A.H. Vishwanath of the Congress is seeking a re-election, the victory is a must both for Mr. Siddaramaiah and the Congress to escape embarrassment.

While Congress leaders have averred repeatedly that the election results will not be a referendum on the government, the party is not taking any chances and is putting up a united show.

To a large extent, the individuality of candidates from the mainstream political parties has been masked by the party identity, and votes are being sought by projecting the national leaders in the case of the BJP, and both national and State leaders in the case of the Congress.

The BJP, which has fielded a political greenhorn in Pratap Simha, is banking on the ‘Modi wave’ and the anti-incumbency factor against the UPA to work in its favour. Mr. Simha is highlighting the twin issues of corruption and black money to encash on public sentiment. The BJP has so far not raised any local issue of importance to woo the voters.

The Congress is highlighting the development programmes launched by the State government in the last 10 months, such as the Anna Bhagya and Ksheera Bhagya, to strike a chord with the voters. It is also trying to neutralise the BJP allegations of corruption and scandals linked to the UPA by referring to the five years of BJP “misrule” and “scam-ridden administration” in the State.

Countering the BJP’s thrust on corruption, black money and a “Congress-free” India, the Congress has launched a counter-offense by projecting the party’s vision of a hunger-free India to woo the electorate and has portrayed this election as an ideological battle between forces of secularism and communalism. The Congress is banking on the consolidation of the Dalits, Kurubas and minority votes in its favour.

The Janata Dal (S), which has fielded the former Upalokayukta, K. Chandrashekaraiah, has described the Congress and the BJP as two sides of the same coin and is projecting a non-Congress, and non-BJP-led alternative front for effective governance. Its USP stems from its State moorings and claims only a regional outfit can reflect local aspirations better.

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