BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday held a massive road show in Tumkur, where his party nominee is pitted against JDS supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, as the town was swathed in Saffron.
Ahead of the road show, Shah visited Siddaganga mutt, a prominent Lingayat seminary in Karnataka, and paid respects at the “Gadduge” (the final resting place) of its highly revered seer Shivakumara Swami, who passed away at the age of 111-year, in January this year.
Thousands of enthusiastic BJP workers cheered Shah chanting “Modi, Modi” as his “Rath”, a modified campaign vehicle, traversed through the streets of Tumkur in the around 40-minute road show.
Shah canvassed votes for BJP candidate GS Basavaraj on the last day of the electioneering in the constituency, which is going for polls on Thursday along with 13 other seats in the first of the two-phase elections in the state.
The remaining 14 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka will have polling on April 23.
A large number of people gathered all along the route and showered flower petals on Shah as the “rath” wound its way in a delirious atmosphere.
Ahead of the “rath”, BJP supporters sporting saffron caps and holding cutouts, placards and party flags danced to drum beats, as slogans of ‘Modi Modi’ rent the air.
Accompanying Shah among others were senior leader and MLA V Sonamma, BJP national general secretary and Karnataka in charge P Muralidhar Rao.
Deve Gowda is the joint candidate of ruling Congress-JDS coalition in the constituency.
He has chosen to contest from Tumkur at the last minute, after vacating Hassan, his home tuft, to grandson Prajwal Revanna.
Congress had ceded Tumkur seat to JD(S) as per the seat sharing arrangement, denying ticket to sitting MP Muddahanumegowda, causing resentment within.
The fight in Tumkur is also seen as battle between Lingayats and Vokkaligas – the two dominant communities in Karnataka — to which both Basavaraj and Gowda belong to respectively.
Basavaraj had represented Tumkur in Lok Sabha in the past- thrice as a Congress nominee and once from BJP. He was defeated by Congress Muddahanumegowda in 2014 polls.
For Deve Gowda it is his first electoral battle from Tumkur, which has eight assembly segments. Four of them are held by BJP, three by JD(S) and one by Congress.
A total of 15 candidates are in the fray in the seat.