Bengaluru, May 9: The battle for Karnataka is turning out to be a high-pitch one, more so with opinion polls not being able to pull out a winner. The Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) have gone all out to make sure they make the best of campaigning. From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the campaign for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 has witnessed the biggest political names on the ground. Also Read - Sourav Ganguly to Join Politics in Future? BCCI President Answers
While the Congress is pinning its hopes on Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is fighting the election on two seats, the BJP is confident of the return of BS Yeddyurappa. Meanwhile, the JDS is also hoping to dent the two vote banks. Voting is set to take place for the Karnataka polls on Saturday, May 12. Here’s a look at the key candidates in the fray in what is being seen as a do-or-die battle for the Congress: Also Read - Uttarakhand CM Cancels Programmes, Rushes to Delhi Amid Rumours of Leadership Change
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is fighting this poll on two seats – Chamundeshwari and Badami. He is the first CM to have completed a five-year term in 40 years in Karnataka. The Congress leader started off his career in electoral politics from the Chamundeshwari seat in 1983 and had won as an Independent candidate. In 2006, he parted ways with the JDS and joined the Congress. In 2008, the constituency, from where he had won every election since 1983 except for 1989 and 1999, was divided into two – Chamundeshwari and Varuna. While Siddaramaiah moved to Varuna, he is back this election to Chamundeshwari. On the Badami seat, Siddaramaiah is facing a tough battle with BJP’s Boya Sriramulu in the fray. Also Read - Suvendu Adhikari to File Nomination Papers From Nandigram Assembly Seat on March 12, Will Face Mamata Banerjee
BS Yeddyurappa, BJP
It’s the return of BS Yeddyurappa, former Karnataka chief minister, who is back as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate this election, years after he faced corruption charges. Yeddyurappa is fighting from Shikaripura for the eighth time. Yeddyurappa has been winning Shikaripura since 1983 only except for 1999. Yeddyurappa, who has been the deputy chief minister in 2006-2007 and chief minister from 2008 to 2011, had broken away from the BJP in 2013 when the party sidelined him over corruption allegations and had formed his own party – KJP. Back in the BJP, Yeddyurappa is confident that the people of Shikaripura will continue to make him win even if he campaigns less here.
HD Kumaraswamy, JDS
Like Siddaramaiah, JDS’s chief ministerial face HD Kumaraswamy is contesting on two seats – Ramanagara and Channapatna. While Kumaraswamy has won thrice from the Ramanagara seat, he is contesting on the Channapatna seat, too, since his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy could not fight the election this time. Anitha Kumaraswamy used to contest from Channapatna. However, Kumaraswamy, who was being seen as a CM face, may end up being the kingmaker in the state. While he may not get the CM chair, it would be interesting to see whether Kumaraswamy’s JDS goes with the Congress or the BJP if, as opinion polls say, there is a hung Assembly.
Jagadish Shettar, BJP
Among other key candidates in the fray is BJP’s Jagadish Shettar, who is also the former chief minister of Karnataka. Leader of the Opposition in Karnataka, Shettar is hoping for a sixth consecutive win on the Hubli-Dharwad Central seat. However, the battle has become tougher for him this time with 25 more candidates contesting against him.
DK Shivakumar, Congress
The richest candidate of the Congress, DK Shivakumar has declared assets worth Rs 600 crore this election. The Power Minister of Karnataka, Shivakumar comes from the Vokkaliga community. Fighting to retain the Kanakapura seat, Shivakumar is among the youth faces of the Congress party who are seen as potential senior leaders and CM face in the future. It was Shivakumar who had hosted Gujarat Congress MLAs at resort in Bengaluru to avoid cross-voting in Rajya Sabha elections.
The fate of these candidates among others will be decided on May 12 when Karnataka goes to vote. The results of the Karnataka polls will be declared on May 15.