A total of 362 candidates have filed 455 nominations for the 14 parliamentary constituencies going to the polls in the first of two phases of Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, scheduled to be held on 18 April, election authorities said on Tuesday.
Senior leaders from the three major parties--Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and Janata Dal (Secular)--rushing to complete the formalities on the last day of nomination after several of their candidatures were announced either late on Monday or the early hours on Tuesday.
Traffic in several areas choked due to the large procession of leaders and their supporters turning up in full strength to showcase its might in what is fast turning out to be one of the fiercest electoral contests in recent memory.
The BJP, that is relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help it bag maximum number of seats, will take on the combined might of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress in the 28 parliamentary constituencies of the state.
Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda and B.K.Hariprasad filed their respective nominations for Bengaluru North and South seats on Tuesday. 28-year old Tejasvi Surya, was named by the BJP as its the candidate representing Bengaluru South. D.K.Suresh filed his nomination from the Bengaluru Rural seat. Though the formalities of nomination are complete, parties have kicked into campaign mode and resolving other issues within their respective constituencies. The biggest task at hand will be to pacify aspirants and their supporters from causing any further harm to the party’s prospects.
Surya’s challenges would include pacifying senior leaders, who appear dismayed at the choice of its senior leadership that has clearly not taken them into confidence.
“We do not know whose choice it was. Our choice was Tejaswini Ananth Kumar," R.Ashok, a senior BJP leader said in Bengaluru indicating that there was palpable discontent among the local legislators. Though the leaders said they will be bound by the decision, a disconcerted effort by workers likely to help the Congress in the seat which it last won in 1989.
The saffron outfit, that was hoping to cash in on the discord between the JD(S)-Congress workers, now having to deal with dissent within its own ranks.
Not like teething issues between the JD(S) and Congress will disappear due to the growing problems within the rival camp.
Former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda is busy trying to get rebel Congress leader and sitting member of Parliament, S.P.Muddahanumegowda to withdraw from the Tumakuru (Tumkur) seat. Deve Gowda’s grandson, Nikhil Kumaraswamy is also facing a backlash in the Mandya parliamentary seat as Congress workers are unwilling to work towards the victory of its rivals. A section of the JD(S) workers have also moved away from Nikhil’s camp as they feel overlooked to promote the interests of the Deve Gowda family.
All disgruntled workers consolidating behind Sumalatha Amarnath or Sumalatha Ambareesh, the independent candidate from the district. Even the BJP has decided to support Sumalatha’s candidature that is making the electoral debut of Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil, a much harder affair in a district which the JD(S) counts as its bastions.