Political temperature heats up ahead of Assembly polls in Karnataka

It is to be noted that, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to hold three rallies in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar, Udupi and Belagavi district today.

Opinion polls by various agencies have projected a hung Assembly for the southern state with the ruling Congress or the opposition BJP having an edge in the 225-member legislative house, including one nominated.

Hailing BJP chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa, Prime Minister Modi asserted that the former will be the new chief minister of the state.

The PM faulted the Congress' development model, and said: "In 2009, there were 39 villages without electricity in Karnataka".

The elections in Karnataka will take place on 12th May and the result will be declared on the 15th.

He also accused the successive Congress governments at the Centre of allowing a handful of people to "loot" banks while denying loans to poor.

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The Lingayats, who account for about 17 per cent of the state's population, have a large presence in north and central Karnataka, especially in Shivamogga, Davanagere and Chitradurga, where their votes can be critical to the electoral outcome.

Speaking on the Lingayat issue, the Chief Minister said, "Lingayat it is not an election issue for them but for BJP". Here is the explanation to his formula to win election. "Not at all", he said.

Chief minister P.C. Siddaramaiah lost no time in attacking Modi for his changed perception of Deve Gowda. Siddaramaiah hails from the Kuruba community. He will contest from two seats and has given his old seat to his son.

The BJP has fielded its resourceful Ballari MP B Sriramulu against Siddaramaiah in Badami in North Karnataka. He said, "We want a Swachh, Sundar and Surakshit Karnataka". The BJP had earlier accused Siddaramaiah of politicising the issue ahead of the assembly polls.

"That's why they (Congress leaders) are spreading lies, dividing people on the grounds of caste. There is only Modi wave and we are going to sweep not only the coastal region but the entire state". "People of the state will decide which kind of politics they will choose (in the upcoming election)", Modi said. Speculation has been rife that the saffron poll managers are in back channel talks with the JD (S) for a post-poll alliance.

Janardhana Reddy, who was the state Tourism and Infrastructure Minister between 2008-11 when Yeddyurappa was the Chief Minister, was arrested and jailed for about two years after the state's anti-graft watchdog (Lokayukta) named him in the multi-crore iron ore mining scam that rocked Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for about a decade (2001-10).

  • Adam Floyd