Voters in all three segments may want to play their cards close to their chests, preferring not to disclose their choice of political parties or candidates, but the poll fever has gripped them.
A lot of power and prestige appears to be associated with the August 21 byelections to the three Assembly constituencies in Karnataka. Albeit not really big, the sabre-rattling has been going on with bigwigs from both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress touring and camping in the segments, apparently to give their best to score over one another.
The heat is picking up. For the main players-the Congress and the BJP-results are extremely important to prove a point or two over the other. The Congress is intent on retaining the Chikkodi- Sadalga constituency in Belgaum and wrest the Bellary (ST) constituency and Shikaripur in Shimoga from the BJP. Because, the party holds the reins in the State. While the Congress is trying to project its welfare schemes as achievements, the BJP is retaliating by accusing the Congress government of failure on all fronts.
No doubt, a huge amount of money will be expended for the elections, not to speak of the amount spent to woo voters unethically. Voters in all three segments may want to play their cards close to their chests, preferring not to disclose their choice of political parties or candidates, but the poll fever has gripped them. Usually, the pattern preferred by voters in the State is to cast votes in favour of the ruling dispensation in the State. But that did not happen in the previous Lok Sabha elections where the Congress had to play second fiddle to the BJP. Karnataka has thrown a different party to power in the State, contrary to the one in Delhi. It is even more evident now. Voters are clever too. Their ingrained decisions to vote for a particular candidate will be difficult to change.
The BJP, which upset the applecart of the Congress in the recent Lok Sabha elections in the State, aims to make a clean sweep. A “terrible” loss for the Congress would embolden detractors of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and could hasten the dissident activities within the party, even as the Chief Minister is left to fend for himself against the Opposition BJP attacks. The rise of the BJP nationally under Narendra Modi has come as a shot in the arm for the party in the State. Elevation of former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as one of the national vice-presidents is yet another gain for the party that had fared poorly in the 2013 Assembly elections.