Campaigning ends in segments going to polls in first phase

Bangalore Bureau

People in 11 electoral districts will choose their representatives tomorrow

Number of constituencies

going to polls is 89

As many as 952 candidates are

in the fray

BANGALORE: A low-decibel campaign, yet one where money power played a major role, came to an end at 5 p.m. on Thursday in 89 Assembly constituencies going to the polls on Saturday in the first phase.

The constituencies are in 11 electoral districts, comprising Bangalore city, Bangalore Rural, Ramangara, Tumkur, Chickballapur, Kolar, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar.

As many as 952 candidates are in the fray. These elections have assumed importance as they are being held for the first time in the country after the delimitation process.

The Old Mysore region, with its strong presence of the Vokkaliga community, has traditionally been a bastion of the Janata Parivar and the Congress. These districts in the 2004 Assembly elections gave JD(S) 36 seats, the Congress 28 and the BJP 15 seats. As the JD (S) struggles to retain its support base after some of its leaders quit the party, the Congress is making all efforts to regain lost ground. The BJP, which now has an all-State presence, hopes to make inroads into this uncharted territory.

The performance of the three major political parties in this phase is likely to be a crucial pointer to their final tally, which in turn will decide whether these polls will throw up yet another hung House. Bangalore, where the number of Assembly constituencies has swelled from 16 to 28 after the delimitation, has assumed political importance as it alone accounts for over 12 per cent of the total 224 Assembly seats.

The presence of a revitalised BSP has added yet another dimension to the elections.

The first phase of polling will decide the political fortunes of two chief ministerial aspirants — Janata Dal (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and Congress campaign committee chairman Siddaramaiah.

While Mr. Kumaraswamy is seeking re-election from Ramanagara, Mr. Siddaramaiah is testing his fortunes from the newly created Varuna constituency in Mysore district.

This election has posed a new challenge for some of the leaders like D.K. Shivakumar and R. Ashok who have migrated to new constituencies as their home constituencies have been deleted in the delimitation process. Similarly, some of the former Ministers like Katta Subramanya Naidu and H.M. Revanna have also migrated to new constituencies as their home constituencies have undergone a change in the delimitation process.

Former Ministers G.T. Deve Gowda and B.N. Bacche Gowda and M. Mahadev are contesting as BJP candidates. Mandya Congress MP Ambareesh is contesting from Srirangapatna.

The other important leaders who are in the fray include the former Ministers H.D. Revanna, R. Roshan Baig and B. Somashekar.

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