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Poll race enters last lap

india Updated: May 22, 2008 02:13 IST
BR Srikanth
BR Srikanth
Hindustan Times
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The last phase of polling in the Karnataka legislative assembly elections would mirror the previous phases with leaders of national parties sweating it out for control of the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions (both in north Karnataka) on Thursday.

It would also see two veterans — Pradesh Congress Committee chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former chief minister Dharam Singh — poised to enter the record books with their ninth successive victories.

As for the Janata Dal(S), its state unit president Mirajuddin Patel will strive to retain the party’s hold in his home district of Bidar. His party could well spring a surprise or two in five of the eight districts, while the Bahujan Samaja Party and Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) seem certain to prove their support bases in Bidar and Belgaum districts. As a regional party fighting for the inclusion of Belgaum into Maharashtra over the past five decades, the MES won four seats in the previous election.

The battle for this region has been very intense with top leaders of major parties making a beeline to campaign in Bangalore despite the scorching sun. “We expect a good show because it will be between the Congress and BJP, save for a few pockets where the presence of the JD-S will make it triangular. We will benefit because the anti-incumbency factor will cost the BJP a lot,” said former deputy CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

Though BJP state unit president DV Sadananda Gowda agrees with Siddaramaiah about the face-off between the two parties, he said he was confident of the BJP winning at least 40 of the 69 seats. “Things will work in our favour barring some last minute change in voting pattern.”

Delimitation has reduced the number of seats in this region from 70 in 2004 to 69.