KARNATAKA

People not enthusiastic about a forced by-election

LACKLUSTRE: Hukkeri town, which goes to the polls on Saturday, remains free from election publicity or campaign material.

LACKLUSTRE: Hukkeri town, which goes to the polls on Saturday, remains free from election publicity or campaign material.  

Vijaykumar Patil

Candidates, aware of the mood, have avoided large-scale spending

Hukkeri (Belgaum District): In a sharp contrast to the previous elections and despite the hectic movements of the contestants, a typical election atmosphere is apparently missing in this prestigious Assembly constituency which goes to the polls on December 27.

As usual, life is normal and people do not seem to be really enthusiastic about the untimely by-election forced upon them by Operation Lotus of the BJP which took away one of the strong leaders of the Janata Dal (Secular) Umesh V. Katti.

Of late, although with a sense of rejection, anger, and with a pinch of salt, voters seem to have accepted the situation of political turmoil often resulting in by-elections.

The contesting parties and their candidates are well aware of this feeling among the people and therefore, have wisely avoided glamorous and lavish campaigning.

The model code of conduct of the Election Commission has only added to the dampened spirit of election campaigning.

Yet, people are happy for not having to see those big hoardings, cut-outs of contestants and top leaders of the party they represent, banners, buntings, posters, party flags, which, otherwise, would have covered every village and every town in the constituency during election time.

One would be surprised to know that except for the party flags on vehicles carrying workers and at venues of election meetings, no election material is on display anywhere in the constituency.

The candidates have resorted to public meetings and road-shows, besides meeting heads of various religious institutions, community leaders and addressing workers’ meetings.

The candidates seem to be averse to take up door-to-door canvassing this time for the simple reason that they had conducted the exercise just before the elections in May.

However, BJP candidate and Minister for Horticulture Mr. Katti, Janata Dal (S) candidate Basawaraj Kashappa Matgar and Congress candidate Jayaprakash Narayan Nalwade have engaged four-wheelers and autorickshaws fitted with loudspeakers to appeal for votes and distribute personal appeals in the form of pamphlets.

Similarity

There is a similarity in the campaign of the BJP and the Janata Dal(S) in appealing for vote which is based on the development and welfare programmes initiated by B.S. Yeddyurappa as Deputy Chief Minister in the Janata Dal(S)-BJP coalition Government and as Chief Minister and those during the 20-month rule of H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister of the coalition Government, respectively.

So far, star campaigners of the BJP, including Mr. Yeddyurappa, and the Janata Dal (S)’s Mr. Kumaraswamy, and Congress leaders M. Mallikarjun Kharge, R.V. Deshpande, D.K. Shivakumar and N. Dharam Singh have addressed voters in major pockets of the constituency.

Significantly, Congress leader Siddaramaiah has taken not taken part in campaigning here.

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