Campaigning for urban local body polls ends today

 Campaigning for Thursday’s elections to 208 urban local bodies (ULBs) will end at 7 am on Tuesday.

The elections are described as the “semi-finals” before the 2013 Assembly polls.All major political parties had stepped up their campaigning, particularly in corporation and city municipal council limits, during the last couple of days.

The March 7 civic elections will be a litmus test for all major parties. For the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) , which has a strong hold in the urban areas, the elections are crucial to prove its popularity, particularly after former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa launched the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday campaigned extensively in Bellary and Hubli-Dharwad corporation areas.

The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. While the Congress strives for regaining control over its erstwhile strong fortresses, the JD-S is trying to make inroads into North Karnataka.

The two new regional parties, the Badava Shramika Raitha (BSR) Congress of B Sriramulu and the KJP, will be testing political waters for the first time. The outcome of the poll will reveal the impact of their outfits on the state’s political landscape.

 The polls had caught all political parties off guard, particularly with elections to the Assembly due in a couple of months.  The BJP stood third in the previous election held in 2007 winning 1,180 of the total 5,007 wards. The Congress had taken the first place winning 1,606 wards followed by the JD-S in 1,502 wards.

Around 85 lakh people, about 20 per cent of the state’s total electorate, are eligible to vote in the elections to seven city corporations (excluding Bangalore), 43 city municipal corporations, 65 town municipal councils and 93 town panchayats.
As per the model code of conduct in place, all modes of campaigning should end 48 hours before the start of polling.

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