BENGALURU: High-voltage public campaigning for the crucial December 5 bypolls, that saw allegations and counter-allegations fly, came to an end on Tuesday evening. As star campaigners left the constituencies, candidates and their supporters went door-to-door to woo voters under the watchful eyes of the Election Commission.
As the bypolls will decide the fate of the BJP government and the Congress’s plans to revive the party, top leaders from both parties tried to outdo each other. The JDS, which is keen to be back on the centrestage of state politics, is also fighting hard to retain its seats.
Spearheading the BJP campaign, which focused on a “stable government”, CM BS Yediyurappa addressed around 70 rallies and took part in several roadshows. The CM visited all 15 segments, some twice, while his party state president Nailn Kumar Kateel, central and state ministers worked in tandem.
Though the CM and many senior leaders exude confidence of winning all 15 seats, according to party insiders, the BJP is likely to win around eight to ten seats, which is enough for a simple majority in the assembly. However, many factors including voters response to the legislators’ decision to desert the parties from which they were elected; their response to floods in North Karnataka and local equations, especially cohesion between the supporters of disqualified legislators-turned-party candidates and local BJP cadre, will play a crucial role in BJP’s performance.
Keen to make most of the anger against the disqualified legislators’, top Congress leaders went hammer and tongs criticising them. Former CM Siddaramaiah even called them “cattle sold in the market”. The Congress’s campaign mostly revolved around Siddaramaiah, who addressed four rallies every day.
The Congress failed to display much-needed unity. So much so that the party high command deputed central observers from Tamil Nadu, AP and other states to coordinate with local leaders.
Congress sources said anger against disqualified legislators and local BJP leaders not being happy with their party’s decision to give tickets to disqualified legislators will help the party in seven seats or so.
The JDS is confident of doing well in three to four seats — KR Pet, Hunsur, Yeshwantpur and Gokak. On December 5, over 37 lakh voters in 15 constituencies will decide the fate of the the BJP government.