Rana Das, Soumen Sil, Bengaluru: All the blazing guns fell silent as campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly election 2018, scheduled to be held on May 12, drew to a close on Thursday evening.
Both the BJP and the Congress left no stones unturned and fought a fierce battle in the high-stakes southern state. The intense electioneering was not just limited to the BJP and the Congress and a third player – the kingmaker – the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) was also very well in the contest.
While 2,948 candidates had contested the 2013 polls, a total of 2,655 candidates are in the fray for the May 12 Assembly polls in Karnataka. Out of 2,655 candidates, 2,436 are men and 219 women.
Some of the key battles in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly (total 225, one member is nominated) would be fought in Shikaripura, Badami, Chamundeshwari, Varuna, Channapatna, Ramanagara, Padmanabhanagar, and Hubli-Dharwad Central.
The key contestants, who will decide the future course of action for their respective parties included Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, his son Yathindra, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar.
Here is a look at some of the key constituencies and key players:
Shikaripura (Yeddyurappa vs Goni Malthesh): “There is no problem for me in Shikaripura. I will win by 40,000-50,000 votes. I will go there whenever I get some free time from campaigning in other parts of the state.”
This was the confidence of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa (BSY) who has represented the seat seven times since 1983. Shikaripura is considered BSY’s stronghold and he has lost only once from the seat. To challenge Yeddyurappa in his bastion, the Congress has fielded a local panchayat leader Goni Malthesh.
Hubli Dharwad Central (Jagadish Shettar vs Mahesh Nalwad): Former chief minister and BJP leader Jagdish Shettar is up against Congress’ Mahesh Nalwad in Hubli Dharwad Central constituency of Karnataka. While Shettar is a favourite candidate to win from Hubli, Nalwad, who is considered pro-farmer and pro-poor leader, could give the BJP leader a tough fight.
Chamundeshwari (Siddaramaiah vs GT Deve Gowda): Siddaramaiah was challenged by JD-S leader Deve Gowda to contest from Chamundeshwari, a seat considered to be the traditional stronghold of JDS. Siddaramaiah accepted the challenge and announced to fight from the Chamundeshwari rather than his traditional Varuna constituency seat. He will be fighting against the sitting JDS MLA GT Deve Gowda in a battle of prestige. Later, on party’s direction, Siddaramaiah filed his candidature from another constituency, Badami, as well.
Varuna (Yathindra vs T Basavaraju): Earlier, there were reports that Yeddyurappa’s son Vijayendra will take on Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra in Varuna in the Old Mysore region. However, the BJP refrained from taking chances and sent T Basavaraju to challenge Yathindra, the first son of Karnataka’s politics.
Padmanabhanagar (R Ashok vs VK Gopal vs M Srinivas): The Padmanabhanagar constituency in south Bengaluru will witness a triangular contest among leaders of the BJP, the JDS and the Congress. While the BJP has fielded sitting MLA R Ashoka, the Congress bets on former BJP MLA and MP M Srinivas, who joined the grand old party in 2013. VK Gopal is the candidate of the JD-S. He thinks anti-incumbency would work in his favour.