Leaders leave for their constituencies
Bangalore, May 3, 2013,DHNS:
The month-long, high-pitched public canvassing that saw national leaders of major political parties and film stars sweat it out to woo voters ended on Friday, setting the stage for polling on May 5 in the State. Counting of votes is scheduled on May 8.
However, the campaign on the last day on Friday largely remained low-key. Senior leaders confined themselves to holding press briefings, while candidates conducted door-to-door campaign and held road shows.Though Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Sheila Dikshit were in Bangalore, they did not take part in any public campaign. None of the BJP Delhi leaders were in Bangalore.
With curtains coming down on public campaign, the Election Commission (EC) directed that all party leaders and workers who do not belong to respective constituencies should leave. Hence, majority of the State leaders of all the parties remained confined to their constituencies on Friday. BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar held a road show in Basavanagudi and actors Vijay and Ganesh campaigned for BJP candidate in Padmanabhnagar. JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy campaigned in Mandya and Kolar districts.
The candidates can conduct padayatra on Saturday. As many as 2,939 candidates are in the fray for the 223 seats. Polling in Periyapatna has been postponed to May 28 following the death of the BJP candidate.
The BJP and the Congress accused each other of corruption, a major issue in the State. While the Congress accused the BJP of creating a record of sorts in corruption in Karnataka, the saffron party retorted by highlighting 2G, coalgate and Commonwealth games scams. Both chanted “sakappa saku” (enough is enough) mantra, calling for end of corruption.
Regional parties, the JD(S) led by H D Deve Gowda, the KJP led by B S Yeddyurappa and the BSR Congress led by B Sriramulu, left no stone unturned in attracting the attention of matabandavaru (electorate) by making a strong pitch for a regional force coming to power in the State. They accused the two national parties of letting down the State’s interest. Gowda and Yeddyurappa went to the extent of shedding tears in public. Gowda’s daughter-in-law Anitha Kumaraswamy, too, wept in Channapatna where she is the party candidate.
Though top leaders of both the national parties had hit the campaign trail, it was NaMo-RaGa duel (Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi) that stole the show. Modi’s public rally in Bangalore, Belgaum and Mangalore came as a moral booster to the party. Rahul was the star campaigner for the Congress.
BJP president Rajnath Singh, senior leaders L K Advani Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely campaigned for the party. The Congress had Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and many Union minister seeking votes.
Besides, political parties added glitz and glamour to their campaigns by roping in cine stars. Telugu actor and Union minister Chiranjeevi was a big hit in Tumkur, Kolar, Anekal (Bangalore urban district) and Bellary, where he campaigned for the Congress. Among Kannada actors who hit the campaign trail were Ramya, Bhavana (Congress), Tara, Ganesh (BJP) and Shruti (KJP). Actor Pooja Gandhi is the BSR Congress candidate from Raichur while veteran actor Ambareesh is contesting from Mandya.
This apart, all parties and their candidates extensively used technology and social media to reach out to the voters. However, padayatras (door-to-door campaign) remained the favourite mode of campaigning. There was only one incident of hate speech by BJP leader K S Eshwarappa in Shimoga. Till Friday evening, the Election Commission had registered 696 cases for various election-related offences and received 2,097 complaints on model code violations.