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Brisk campaign for Assembly-Lok Sabha polls

Brisk campaigning is going on in Mysore city for the elections to the Karnataka State Assembly and the Lok Sabha, as in other parts of the State and the Country.

With the withdrawal process complete and the parties finalizing their candidates in the last minute, the picture of contest is clear now. The three major parties contesting the elections in Karnataka are the Congress, headed by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, which is ruling the State for the last four and half years, the Opposition Bharathiya Janata Party, which has completed a five-year term in the Parliament under the stewardship of Prime Minister Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Janata Dal (Secular) led by former Prime Minister Mr. H.D.Deve Gowda.

The recently formed State-level parties, the Janata Party led by liquor tycoon Mr. Vijaya Malya and the Kannada Nadu, headed by leading transport operator Mr. Vijaya Sankeswar, are also in the fray in the State, but with little impact to make on the three major rivals in the contest. Party leaders have started whirlwind tours in the State addressing rallies and party workers, to ensure victory for their parties. Between the three parties, the main battle line is drawn between the Congress and the BJP, the latter giving stiffer fight to the ruling party this time and confident of gaining power. If it wins majority in the State Assembly, it will be the first time that the BJP will be coming to power in Karnataka on its own strength.

But it should be seen whether the State leaders of the party can consolidate the BJP pro-Vajpayee wave sweeping the State and the country to achieve their goal. With a record of good administration to his credit, Mr. S.M.Krishna has won the admiration and support of the educated and the urban electorate, which has given him and his party the confidence of retaining power in the State. Poll predictions say that the Congress will return to power, while there are also reports that there could be a hung Assembly with no party gaining majority to form the Government on its own.

A clear picture might emerge by April 26, when the second phase of elections is scheduled in the State. The first phase of polling is taking place on April 20. While the elections in the country will be in four phases, the last being on May 10, it will be only in two phases – April 20 and 26 – in Karnataka. Elections will take place on April 20 for 120 Assembly and 15 Lok Sabha seats, while on April 26 for the rest of 104 Assembly and 13 Lok Sabha seats in the State.

The constituencies where polling will take place on April 20 are: Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Bellary, Davangere, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Chikkaballapur, Kolar (reserved seat), Kanakapura, Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bagalkot and Bijapur.

Polling in Mysore, Mandya, Chamarajanagar (reserved), Mangalore, Udupi, Hassan, Chikkamagalur, Shimoga, Canara, Dharwad South, Dharwad North, Belgaum and Chikkodi (reserve) constituencies is scheduled on April 26.

In Mysore city, as in other constituencies, the campaigning is gaining momentum day by day. Banners and buntings have started appearing at eye-catching points. Candidates are going round their constituencies on strenuous door-to-door campaign in the summer heat. Vehicles fitted with loudspeakers are blaring out slogans for their candidates. Popular songs turned into campaign songs are being played through the loudspeakers.

There is multi-cornered fight in all the 11 Assembly constituencies and one Lok Sabha constituency in Mysore District and five Assembly and one Lok Sabha constituency in the Chamarajanagar district.

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