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Curtains come down on campaigning for 14 LS seats in Karna

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

The high-decibel campaign for 14 Lok Sabha seats, which will go to polls during the first phase in on April 18, ended Tuesday, with top leaders of the BJP and Congress-JD(S) alliance making a last-gasp effort to sway voters in their favour.

Star campaigners who campaigned for their party candidates on the last day included in Davangere and Tumkur, chief H D Kumaraswamy in Mandya, and former chief in Chamarajanagar.

From nationalism debate, corruption allegations, personal attacks, dynasty politics, open defiance of party line,foes turning friends, accusations of misuse of government machinery and emotional outbursts- the campaigning had it all.

While helmed the BJP's campaign in the State, Amit Shah, several union ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman, besides state leaders including B S Yeddyurappa were among those who campaigned extensively.

For the Congress-JD(S) combine, it was Rahul Gandhi, JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy, coalition coordination committee chief and also Andhra Pradesh who led the charge.

There were some initial hiccups for the BJP as it gave the ticket to 28-year-old for Bangalore South with just hours left for deadline for filing of nominations, denying ticket to former Ananth Kumars widow Tejaswini, who was earlier tipped to be the party candidate.

Other than that, it was a smooth campaign for the saffron party.

In the case of the Congress-JD(S) alliance, disgruntlement among the rank and file of both parties, which had been arch rivals in most constituencies for decades, over seat sharing arrangement overshadowed the campaign.

In few constituencies like Mandya, workers openly defied their party diktat extending support to the

In Hassan and Mysore too, pro-Modi slogans were reportedly raised at party meetings of Congress and JD(S).

There are 241 candidates in the fray in the 14 constituencies out of the 28 in the state which are going to the polls on April 18.

Elections will be held in the remaining 14 constituencies on April 23.

The main contest will be between the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) alliance.

While BJP is contesting in 13 seats and supporting in Mandya, Congress and JD(S) have fielded its candidates in 10 and four constituencies respectively.

Of the 14 constituencies going to the polls, the BJP and Congress had won six each in 2014, and the JD(S) two.

Prominent contestants in the first phase include former H D (Tumkur), his grandsons and from Hassan and Mandya respectively, (Bangalore North) and senior Congress leaders (Chikkaballapura).

Mandya is the constituency that hogged most of the limelight with Kumaraswamys son Nikhil in the fray against and actress Sumalatha Ambareesh, who has BJPs support.

The campaigning saw emotional outbursts and personal attacks, with Sumalatha emerging as a strong opponent.

Several personalities of the Kannada film industry, including popular actors like and Darshan, actively campaigned for Sumalatha.

Kumaraswamy devoted most of the time to Mandya, with much at stake for him as he has to get his son elected with Congress local leaders against him despite warnings by his alliance partner's high command.

In a last minute resort to woo the voters of Mandya both Sumalatha and Kumaraswamy held mega road shows and rallies, separately on Tuesday.

With transfer of votes between the Congress and JD(S) crucial for coalition candidates to defeat the BJP, it remains to be seen how the equation works out in seats like Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Chikkaballapure, Kolar, Tumkur, Bangalore North among others.

Many believe that any adverse results in these constituencies will have its implications on the longevity of the coalition government in the state.

In the run-up to the polls, income tax raids on few contractors in Hassan and Mandya triggered outrage among the ruling coalition which termed it as politically motivated,

The coalition alleged that the I-T had targeted their supporters on the BJP-led NDA government's direction.

Kumaraswamy had even led a protest in front of I-T office here along with other coalition leaders.

Many ruling coalition leaders, who had turned foes and had never shared a stage, were also seen with each other during this campaign, depicting the changed political situation in the State.

Notable among them were seen along with and Minister G T Devegowda (who had defeated him in Chamundeshwari during assembly polls).

Counting of votes will be on May 23.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 19:05 IST