Karnataka's 14 Lok Sabha Seats Witness Intense Battle Between BJP and Congress

Karnataka's second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday will witness a battle between Congress and BJP in 14 seats. With 227 candidates vying for votes, over 2.59 crore voters will cast their ballots. Congress aims to make a strong showing, while BJP hopes to retain its dominance. Prominent candidates include former CMs Bommai and Shettar, Union Ministers Joshi and Khuba, and Congress leader Kharge's son-in-law. Both parties see the election as a test of their support, particularly among Lingayats. Results will impact the political fortunes of Congress chief Shivakumar and CM Siddaramaiah, and BJP president Vijayendra.

PTI | Bengaluru | Updated: 06-05-2024 11:10 IST | Created: 06-05-2024 11:10 IST
Karnataka's 14 Lok Sabha Seats Witness Intense Battle Between BJP and Congress
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The Congress and BJP will lock horns on the electoral battleground again in less than a fortnight in Karnataka, as the stage is set for the second phase of elections in the 14 remaining Lok Sabha seats on Tuesday.

It is going to be a straight fight between the ruling Congress and BJP in Parliamentary segments in the northern districts. The JD(S) is not contesting in these seats and is supporting its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner -- the BJP.

The state has a total of 28 Lok Sabha constituencies. The first phase of polling in 14 seats in most of the southern and coastal districts was held on April 26.

A total of 227 candidates -- 206 men and 21 women -- are in the fray for the second phase.

More than 2.59 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 28,269 polling stations where voting will take place between 7 am to 6 pm.

The segments where elections will be held on Tuesday are: Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Koppal, Bellary, Haveri, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, Davangere and Shimoga.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had swept all these 14 seats, defeating Congress and JD(S), which were in alliance and ruling the state then.

Having scored a thumping victory in the Assembly elections last year, the Congress now appears determined to put up a strong show.

Karnataka is the most important state for the BJP in south India as it's only here that it has held power in the past.

Speaking to PTI, Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena said adequate security arrangements have been made for Tuesday's polling.

''Around 1.45 lakh polling officials have been deployed across the 14 constituencies. In addition, 35,000 civil police personnel, 65 companies of Central Paramilitary forces and armed police of other states will be deployed for the polling day,'' he said.

Besides this, 4,000 micro-observers will also be on duty and 17,000 polling stations will be covered by webcasting, he added.

Davangere has the maximum number of 30 candidates, followed by 23 in Shimoga and Raichur has the least number - eight.

Former Chief Ministers Basavaraj Bommai (Haveri) and Jagadish Shettar (Balgaum), Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) and Bhagwanth Khuba (Bidar) -- all from BJP; Congress' Geetha Shivrajkumar (Shimoga) -- wife of actor Shivrajkumar and daughter of former CM S Bangarappa and AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge's son-in-law Radhakrishna Doddamani (Gulbarga), are among the prominent names in the fray.

Also in the contest are MP and veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa's son B Y Raghavendra, suspended party leader and former Deputy CM K S Eshwarappa -- both from Shimoga, former Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri and ex-Minister B Sreeramulu of BJP from Uttara Kannada and Bellary respectively and retired IAS officer G Kumar Naik of Congress from Raichur.

Stakes are high for several Ministers in this phase with their children in fray.

Sons of Ministers Laxmi Hebbalkar and Eshwar Khandre - Mrinal Ravindra Hebbalkar and Sagar Khandre - are contesting from Belgaum and Bidar respectively, while daughters of Ministers Satish Jarkiholi and Shivanand Patil -Priyanka Jarkiholi and Samyukta Patil- are in contention in Chikkodi and Bagalkot respectively.

Prabha Mallikarjun, wife of Minister S S Mallikarjun and daughter-in-law of veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, is in the fray from Davangere.

The Congress' performance in the elections, especially in the second phase which covers almost all Lingayat-dominated districts, is crucial, as the party did not win one of them in 2019, and to also check whether the grand old party has managed to retain the support of a section of Lingayats -- considered as the BJP's core vote-base -- which seemed to have somewhat shifted towards it in the 2023 Assembly polls.

The Lok Sabha election is being seen as a big test of sorts for Congress state unit chief D K Shivakumar, who has made no secret of his ambition to become chief minister, amid speculations of change in guard mid-way of the Assembly term. The stakes are also high for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, as victory in this election is seen as key to strengthening his hands, analysts say.

It is also seen as a kind of a ''litmus test'' for state BJP president B Y Vijayendra, who has the onerous task of helping the party retain its supremacy in the Lok Sabha polls, by regaining its traditional Lingayat vote-base.

Ensuring a BJP sweep is paramount for the son of veteran leader B S Yediyurappa, to consolidate his position and silence critics who have questioned his selection to the post, overlooking seniors and seasoned hands.

The ruling Congress is mostly banking on the implementation of its populist five guarantee schemes while the BJP seems to be leveraging the ''Modi factor'' to the hilt.

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

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