Zee Media Bureau
Bangalore: With election bells tolling louder with each passing day, Karnataka seems to be vibrating with preparations for the May 5 Assembly polls.
The buzz is that what happens in Bangalore might have significant ramifications for Delhi, as the Assembly polls in Karnataka next month might set the political tone for General Elections 2014.
Add to it the fact, that the important trio of the ruling UPA – Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be seen campaigning in the main districts of city, vis-à-vis Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is almost being projected as the BJP’s face for the PM post.
Modi, who has given BJP a strong model in Gujarat, might prove helpful in canvassing for Karnataka polls but given the disrepute that the BJP has earned (thanks to the intra-party conflicts and rampant corruption during four years of its rule), the future does not look good for the saffron party.
Also, with former CM BS Yeddyurappa’s exit, and him floating a separate Karnataka Janshakti Party, the BJP has risked losing a major chunk of votes, especially those of the ‘lingayat’ community.
Given that the BJP has not given ticket to any Muslim candidate even this year, it is unlikely to garner Muslim votes as well which make for more than 12 percent of the state’s electorate.
Even though, Yeddyurappa has promised a budget of 2000 crore in his manifesto, Muslims are likely to go for more secular parties like the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular).
And as P Chidambaram had said last year after Yeddyurappa’s ouster from the BJP, the Congress might benefit from the split within the BJP.
"With split becoming certain in the ruling BJP, as its former chief minister (B.S. Yeddyurappa) has decided to break away and form a regional party, it will be an advantage to the Congress in the ensuing assembly election," Chidambaram had told the party's state leaders and cadres at a meeting last year.
The Congress, which has been out of power in Karnataka since 2004, is riding high on the confidence of the win in the recent urban local body polls.
The BJP, which has released its third list of candidates today, is yet to announce the nominations for remaining 12 seats out of 224 constituencies. Even the Congress is yet to finalise the names of all candidates.
Come April 20 (the last date for withdrawal of nominations) and the campaigning for the southern state’s Assembly polls is expected to reach feverish pitch with the Congress and the BJP both vying for maximum number of votes so as to buttress their image for General elections 2014.
But who is going to rule Karnataka for next five years, will be decided only after May 8, the date set for counting of votes.