Several senior leaders including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Congress leader Siddaramaiah filed their nomination papers for the Karnataka assembly polls on Wednesday as the political parties exchanged barbs in the electoral heat in the southern state.
Congress attacked BJP over its chief JP Nadda’s remarks urging people for support so that the state is not “devoid of blessings” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Nadda, who addressed a public meeting before Bommai filed his nomination papers from Shiggaon, sought people’s support for the constant growth of Karnataka and said Congress means “commission, corruption and criminalisation”.
“I urge you all to make the ‘Lotus’ win, make the BJP win! Karnataka should not be devoid of Modiji’s blessings and it should never remain behind in the race towards development. This, you all must ensure by choosing ‘Lotus’,” Nadda said.
Congress attacked Nadda and alleged that he has threatened to withhold constitutional rights from the people of Karnataka if they do not vote for BJP.
The party alleged it was an attack on democracy.
“BJP President JP Nadda threatens to withhold constitutional rights from the people of Karnataka if they don’t vote for the corrupt 40 per cent BJP govt. This is a blatant attack on democracy and shows how the BJP plans to treat the Kannadigas. We are not subjects of a Raja but citizens of a federal country governed by the constitution,” Congress said in a tweet.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that the Nadda had “threatened” people of Karnataka and said that Congress will form the government in the state with the support of the people.
Nadda and Bommai also held a roadshow. People thronged the roads and waved BJP’s flags. Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep and BJP leaders were present during the roadshow.
Bommai said that there is a huge support for the party and the people of the state are with them.
Congress on Wednesday released its fifth list of candidates for the Karnataka polls, fielding Yasir Ahmed Khan Pathan against Basavaraj Bommai from the Shiggaon Assembly constituency. The party changed its candidate for the seat. Earlier, it had fielded Mohammed Yousuf Savanur from the seat.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah filed his nomination from the Varuna assembly constituency.
“Congress is a secular party. We are not seeking votes on the basis of caste. We are hopeful of garnering vote from across communities, including Linagayts, Vokkaligas and others,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
Siddaramaiah had earlier said that the upcoming elections will be his last and he will retire from politics.
“I am contesting from Varuna assembly constituency as my native village comes under this constituency. This is going to be my last election. I will retire from electoral politics,” Siddaramaiah had told ANI.
The last date for filing nominations is April 20.
Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who resigned from the BJP over the denial of the ticket and joined Congress, also filed his nomination from the Hubli-Dharwad-Central Assembly constituency.
Shettar is the second senior leader from the Lingayat community to leave the ruling BJP and join Congress in less than a week. Earlier, former Karnataka deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi, also a Lingayat leader, joined the Congress after being denied a ticket by the saffron party.
Shettar is pitted against BJP’s Mahesh Tenginkai in the May 10 polls.
Former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday exuded confidence that his son Vijayendra, who is contesting from Shikaripura, will register a win with a margin of nearly 50,000 votes.
“Vijayendra will win with a margin of 50,000 votes. And everyone insisted that he should contest from Shikaripura because I’m not contesting. So now he is going to get complete support from almost every community,” Yediyurappa told ANI.
“Long back, I took the decision not to contest in the election. And wherever I go, people give me the same respect as they us to give me when I was the Chief Minister and my people are happy with my decision,” he added.
He said that the party will retain power in the state as it has worked for the people of the state.
“Because of our development work in Karnataka, I have no doubt that we are going to get absolute majority and we are going to form the government, nobody can stop it,” he asserted.
Janata Dal-Secular released its third list of 59 candidates for Karnataka polls.The party announced support to Congress candidate Darshan Dhruvanarayan in Nanjanagudu constituency. Ayanur Manjunath, who resigned from BJP, to contest from Shivamogga central constituency.
Raghu Achar, who joined JD(S) after quitting the Congress party, will contest from Chitradurga.
The BJP and Congress released their list of star campaigners for the polls.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP list includes Union Home Minister Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
The Congress also released its list of star campaigners which includes party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party leaders Jairam Ramesh, DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, Shashi Tharoor, Jagadish Shettar, KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Three party chief ministers – Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are in the list. It does not have name of former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.