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Polls in 14 LS seats in Karna Thursday

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

After a month-long rancorous campaign, 14 of the total 28 seats in will go tothe polls in the first phase Thursday with the main battle between the ruling Congress-JD(S) combine and the BJP.

The constituencies, which are going to the polls in the first phase, are mostly in the southern part of the state covering almost the entire old Mysuru region and few coastal districts.

It is a high stakes battle for the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance as any adverse results from the region, considered as their stronghold, is likely to have its impact on the longevity of the coalition government in the state.

The BJP is determined to improve its tally compared to last time riding on the Modi wave.

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

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

Polling will take place in 30,197 booths in the first phase of which 6,318 have been designated by police and election authorities as critical and 23,879 normal.

Police said 90,997 police personnel would be deployed for poll duty, including home guards, civil defence, forest guards and jail warders.

A total of 2,67,53,840 voters are expected to make their choice from among 241 candidates in the fray during the first phase.

Among the 241 candidates, 226 are men and 15 women.

While the highest number of 31 candidates are from North, the least is in Hassan with six candidates.

Out of total 2,67,53,840 voters in the 14 constituencies, 1,35,45,545 are men, 1,32,05,515 women and 2,780 third gender.

Prominent contestants in the first phase include former H D (Tumkur), his grandsons and from Hassan and Mandya respectively, as also (North) and senior leaders (Chikkaballapura) and K H Muniyappa (Kolar).

Other candidates include actress and independent candidate (Mandya) and Tejasvi Surya (South), who was given BJP ticket at the final moment, denying it to Ananth Kumar's widow

A key constituency is Mandya where H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil is making his electoral debut against another debutant Sumalatha, widow of actor-turned M H Ambareesh.

Mandya saw a bitterly fought campaign with Kumaraswamy devoting most of his time to the constituency to ensure his son's victory against Sumalatha.

Sumalatha has the backing of the BJP, Kannada film personalities, besides local Congress leaders who are disgruntled about their party supporting JD(S), which has been their arch rival for decades.

Spotlight is also on Tumkur where Kumaraswamy's farther and former and H D is contesting for the first time, after vacating the Hassan Lok Sabha seat from where he had been contesting to his other grandson

Prajwal too seems to be facing a tough battle in Hassan with former Congress Minister A Manju as his opponent from the BJP. Several Congress leaders there are also miffed over ceding the seat to JD(S).

The battle for three constituencies in Bangalore (North, South and central) are also interesting, where there is direct contest between and BJP, which has a strong support base in these urban seats.

Other key seats are Dakshina Kannada and Udupi-Chikmagalur, where the Congress-JD(S) combine is hoping to cause a dent to BJP's continued dominance, taking advantage of "anti-incumbency" against saffron party candidates Nalin Kumar Kateel and respectively, who are seeking re-election.

The BJP has set a target of winning 22 out of total 28 seats in the state and is hoping to win maximum number of seats in the first phase, on the "Modi wave".

On the other hand, for and JD(S) it will be a test of their alliance.

With transfer of votes between Congress and JD(S) crucial for the alliance partners, especially in the old Mysuru region to defeat the BJP, the palpable dissidence and mistrust among workers of both parties in constituencies like Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Tumkur are causing worry for the leadership.

The remaining 14 constituencies, mostly in northern districts, will go to polls in the second phase of April 23.

In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won in 17, Congress in 9 and JD(S) in two seats. However, in the bypolls held in November last year, the BJP had lost Bellary seat to

The party wise vote share in 2014 polls show that BJP had secured 43.37 per cent , Congress 41.15 per cent and JD(S) 11.07 per cent.

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

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 15:36 IST