New Delhi: The high-voltage campaigning in Karnataka for Assembly elections to be held on May 12 came to an end on Thursday evening. Top leaders from the Congress and the BJP addressed separate press conferences on Thursday during which they highlighted key aspects and focus areas of each party's campaign that lasted close to two months.
Congress and BJP leaders address the media:
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw a "threat" in him, and the attack by him over his prime ministerial ambition was only aimed at "distracting attention". He also hit out at the PM for raking up the issue of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin, saying "my mother is Italian" but she was "more Indian" than many Indians. "This election is not about Rahul. I have now learnt to deal with the prime minister. When he can't respond, he distracts," Rahul told reporters.
On Sonia's foreign origin, he said,"My mother is an Italian. She has lived the larger part of her life in India. She has sacrificed her life for the country, she has suffered for the country. When PM Modi makes such comments, it shows the quality of the man. I am happy if he enjoys making such comments, he is welcome."
Rahul added, "PM Modi has anger inside him and he has got anger for everybody, not only for me. I attract that anger because he sees a threat in me. His anger is his problem, not my problem."
On the other hand, addressing the press in Bengaluru after leading a massive roadshow in Badami constituency, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the Congress wants to win the Karnataka assembly elections in an "undemocratic" manner and the "voter ID scandal" showed its desperation. He also sounded confident about the BJP forming a government on its own.
"The Congress wants to win elections in an undemocratic manner... The developments in the last three days have sent a shock wave across India among those who are concerned about strengthening democracy," he said, referring to the seizure of "bogus" voter ID cards from a flat in Bengaluru. Shah added that the BJP would win at least 130 seats.
The majority mark is 113 seats in the 225-member Karnataka Assembly. While elections are held for 224 seats, one member is nominated by the state Governor from the Anglo-Indian community.
PM Modi connects with 25 lakh people in Karnataka through his app
Meanwhile, PM Modi has reached out to a whopping 25 lakh people in Karnataka through several video interactions on his app, BJP IT department in-charge Amit Malviya said, as per PTI.
The PM concluded his interactions - which happened in the run-up to the Karnataka assembly polls - with an interaction with the workers of the state BJP's SC, ST and OBC wings. In the last couple of weeks, he has spoken to the workers of the Karnataka BJP's farmers, women and youth wings and also answered their questions.
Karnataka Assembly elections in numbers:
Nearly 1.5 lakh security personnel will be deployed during the Assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12 to ensure free and fair polls. Out of them, more than 50,000 will be from the central paramilitary forces. The Union Home Ministry has earmarked around 520 companies drawn from various paramilitary forces like the CRPF, BSF and ITBP to keep strict vigil and ensure peace during the polling process in the southern state as per PTI.
5.6 crore voters are expected to exercise their democratic right in the Karnataka polls. In the 2013 elections, there were 4.18 crore voters in the state. A total of 58,000 booths across the states have been set up. In 2013, there were 50,446 polling stations. Of all the booths in 2018, 600 would be completely managed by women and would be called 'pink booths', according to Chief Electoral Officer S Kumar. He told news agency ANI that 80,000 voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) along with 80,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be used. More than 10 booths would be managed by specially-abled people while 28 booths will have an ethnic design.
The results of the Karnataka Assembly polls will be announced on May 15.
(With Agency inputs)