Elections in Karnataka will see a high-voltage campaigning finale on May 8
The past few days have seen a flurry of campaigning across the state by the top officials of all the major political parties.
All three of the state’s major political parties—the BJP, Congress, and JD(S)—are occupied with making their final pitch to win over voters as the intense campaign for the May 10 Assembly elections in Karnataka comes to an end on Monday.
BJP tries to remove the pattern of alternating governments
While the ruling BJP has been working to end the 38-year pattern of alternating governments and maintain its southern citadel, the top brass of all the major political parties have been on a campaign blitz across the state recently.
Congress’s efforts to remove the BJP from office
The Congress is putting effort into removing the BJP from office to give itself the breathing room and momentum it needs to become the main opposition force in the Lok Sabha elections of 2024.
JD(s) efforts to establish itself as “king”
To establish itself as “king” rather than “kingmaker,” the JD(S), led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, was seen exerting all of its resources in the election campaign. The party hoped to secure the necessary votes to form a government.
Karnataka Assembly elections
The 224-member Assembly elections were being campaigned for, and “Government with a full majority” appeared to be the party leaders’ go-to catchphrase as they emphasized the importance of obtaining a clear mandate to establish a stable and powerful government in the state.
Election Campaigns of all major parties
The BJP’s campaign was largely centralized, with a focus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the “double-engine” government, national issues, programs, and accomplishments of the union government as well as a few from the state, whereas the Congress’s campaign, for the most part, was local in nature and was initially run by its local leaders. However, later on, its key figures like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi, and AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge joined.
Despite his advanced age and other health issues, party patriarch Deve Gowda participated in the JD(S)’s highly localized campaign, which was led solely by its leader H. D. Kumaraswamy.
BJP’s campaign centralized on the “double-engine” government led by PM Modi
Modi’s campaign machine has made steady progress over the past week since April 29 with up to 18 large-scale public gatherings and six road shows. With the election slogan “Ee Baariya Nirdhara, Bahumatada BJP Sarkara” (This Time’s Decision: Majority BJP Government), the prime minister canvassed support for BJP candidates across the state.
Modi had visited the state seven times since January to introduce various government projects and programs, and he had spoken at numerous gatherings of those who had benefited from the government’s different initiatives before the polls were announced on March 29.
Several BJP leaders, including the party’s national president J P Nadda, as well as Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states like Yogi Adiyanath of Uttar Pradesh, Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Pramod Sawant of Goa, and others, have traveled to different parts of the state to campaign.
Congress Campaign on Countering and Challenging BJP’s Campaign Strategy
This time, the Congress party has engaged in high-stakes campaigning because it is so focused on this. Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, two state leaders, were at the forefront of the campaign, but Kharge gave it momentum, setting the stage for Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, the party’s two top leaders, to join in.
The brother-sister team extensively traveled the state, taking on the BJP’s campaign apparatus, which is led by Modi, and countering and challenging him on several issues, most importantly the issue of corruption, while pledging to offer Karnataka a better alternative.
JD(S) campaigning for regional pride and Kannadiga identity
Gowda, who is 89 years old, initially refrained from running for office because of age-related ailments, but in recent weeks he has been traveling and supporting JD(S) candidates, particularly in the party’s stronghold of Old Mysuru region. He has done this by making an emotional appeal and rebutting attacks made by the Congress and BJP against his party.
Despite opposition, Kumaraswamy has stuck to issues concerning the welfare of farmers and the poor in his campaigning as well as regional pride and Kannadiga identity.