Campaign ends, parties hope for winning edge

Campaign ends, parties hope for winning edge

The Congress, the BJP and the JD(S) ended their high-voltage election campaigns on Thursday in what has been touted as an unprecedented poll-time fight Karnataka has witnessed. The state goes to polls on May 12.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is leading the ruling Congress, finished his campaign with a roadshow at Hinkal village in Chamundeshwari constituency where he is contesting what he has declared will be his last election.

Arch rival BJP concluded its poll campaign with its chief ministerial face B S Yeddyurappa holding a rally in Badami, where the party’s warhorse B Sriramulu is taking on Siddaramaiah. JD(S) chief ministerial candidate H D Kumaraswamy ended the party campaign at Chamarajpet in Bengaluru.

The Congress’ main campaign was anchored by its president Rahul Gandhi, who spent 17 days touring various parts of the state since February. The BJP campaign involved Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing 24 rallies, of which 21 came as a blitzkrieg over the past 10 days.

The Congress largely relied on the schemes rolled out by the state government over the past five years while highlighting the “failures” of the BJP-led Centre. “Instead of talking about issues, the BJP got personal by attacking our leaders,” Siddaramaiah said.

The BJP’s campaign focussed on outlining achievements of the Modi administration and those in the 2008-13 period when it was in power. It sold the Modi-Yeddyurappa combination.
“Unlike Congress, we didn’t indulge in false, negative and divisive campaign. Development for all shall continue to remain our core,” Yeddyurappa said.

The JD(S) campaign was fairly straight-forward with Kumaraswamy appealing to voters to give the regional party a chance. “I’m your son, your brother, a family member. Give me one chance,” Kumaraswamy was heard saying in one of his campaign messages.

The BJP and the Congress managers are now engaged in assessing the impact of their campaign in terms of increasing the vote share.

Statistically, the BJP is hoping for an edge by simply trying to increase its vote share by one or two percentage points compared to the previous Assembly polls. In 2008, the BJP’s vote share was 34% with which it got 110 seats. In 2013, it dropped to 20.07% and 40 seats, because the KJP and BSR Congress ate into the vote share. Adding up the share it lost last time, the BJP is hoping that it can easily garner 34.3% of the votes now. The Modi factor, the party believes, will provide the winning edge.