BENGALURU: Sunday marked the last day of outdoor canvassing for Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar bypolls, with leaders of the three primary political parties pulling out all stops, as the campaign came to an end. The two seats go to polls on Tuesday.
After an electrifying campaign that demanded unity, a show of strength and oratory prowess from leaders of the three parties, Sira and RR Nagar are touted to witness a pitched ballot battle. While the BJP pushed on till the last hour, the Congress’ highlight of the day was a press conference alleging electoral malpractice in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. For the JDS, the focus was its candidate in Sira, Ammajamma, wife of late MLA B Satyanarayana, finally taking centre stage for the first time.
Ammajamma, who had tested Covid-positive, made her first public appearance only on Sunday. The JDS campaign was powered by former Prime Minister and party patriarch HD Deve Gowda through the past week, and managed to enthuse cadres and inspire the confirmed voter base in Sira. With both its candidates being debutantes, JDS is relying heavily on its loyal voters and Gowda’s charisma to sail through the polls.
The Congress, meanwhile, is oozing confidence in Sira, banking on its candidate TB Jayachandra’s goodwill among voters. A united effort by leaders, cutting across caste lines to appeal to communities, apart from the party’s fixed voter base, has led the Congress to believe it will succeed in returning to power in Sira.
The Congress, that seemed to have little chance of a victory in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, has managed to bargain itself into a fighting chance. “Vokkaligas are in support of our candidate since she is from the community. All the personal attacks against her have garnered her sympathy among women voters. Minorities are steadily behind us too,” said a Congress leader on their winning probability increasing in the past one week.
The BJP, that has never won a seat in Sira, has managed to make in-roads into the constituency at every booth level. With the deployment of heavyweights like Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol, micro-community social engineering managers like State General Secretary N Ravi Kumar, unconventional campaign ideators like State Vice-President B Y Vijayendra, apart from community leaders as in-charges, the BJP took up a targeted approach in Sira. In Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the party expects to breeze through, given its candidate’s popularity and hold over the constituency.
JDS candidate seeks votes, faints on stage
Tumakuru: The JDS, that had faced an initial setback when its candidate Ammajamma tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalised, faced a similar situation when she fainted on stage, giving Sira town tense moments on Sunday evening. With an intravenous drip strip on her right hand intact, as she was under treatment, she took part in a roadshow of over 2km under the scorching sun.
By the time she reached the stage, she was exhausted, and after appealing to voters with the gesture of spreading out the pallu of her sari, she fainted for some time. JDS patriarch H D Deve Gowda, former CM H D Kumaraswamy and other leaders were present. Later, she recovered and went home. “ I was suffering from giddiness, and now I am alright,” she told party workers, who in reply promised that it would ensure a win for her.