Parties make final pitch to woo voters as campaigns for Hanagal, Sindgi bypolls end
Bengaluru As the campaigning for the bypolls came to a close, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai held seven rallies in Hanagal on Wednesday as the former tried to cover as many places possible on the last day for the October 30 bypolls.
In the high-pitched campaigning, which lasted for over 15 days, all the three major parties- BJP, Congress and the JD(S)- spared no opportunity to attack each other on various platforms and issues in an election which Bommai said would become an indicator of what the state can expect in the 2023 assembly elections.
For the last 10 days, the chief minister has left no stone unturned to ensure a victory in the two bypoll-bound constituencies--Sindgi and Hanagal--with the latter seat turning into a prestige issue as it comes under his home district Haveri.
During the rally in Hanagal on Wednesday hundreds of workers joined Bommai in large numbers to support the BJP. On Tuesday, Bommai even had said that there is a tsunami in favour of the BJP which will have its effect on the party’s performance in the Hanagal Assembly bypoll on October 30.
“There is a tsunami in favour of the BJP in the state and it will have an effect on Hanagal. There is massive support to the BJP in every village of Hanagal,” the chief minister had said addressing the members of Bhajandri community in Hanagal town.
During the most part of the campaigning, the chief minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took on the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) for their wrongdoing or inaction but shared very little about the incumbent government’s own achievement or any development in these regions which are among the most backward in the state.
Congress too didn’t leave any chances to attack the BJP. On Wednesday as well, senior party leader Siddaramaiah reiterated his charge against the BJP of distributing cash for votes.
“Ten to 12 ministers in each constituency are holding a bag of money to distribute it to people to purchase votes,” he said. The Congress and BJP have traded charges of distributing cash to secure support to help secure them a victory.
Siddaramaiah even said that he will file a complaint with the election authorities regarding this.
The BJP also hit back at the Congress saying that it was party president DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah who have used money bags to win elections and subvert processes in past elections while they were in power.
Siddaramaiah had even called Bommai a “remote control” chief minister, referring to speculations that he continues to operate under his predecessor, BS Yediyurappa, and the BJP in Delhi.
Replying to the jibe, Bommai had said, “Siddaramaiah has called me a remote control chief minister. What he has said is true. My remote control is with the people. Siddaramaiah is under the control of the family (Gandhi’s) in Delhi.”
The attacks during the campaign have been more personal in nature rather than on more pressing issues of relief for Covid, flood and drought-hit population of the calamity-prone state.
There have been accusations of distributing cash in both constituencies to secure voter support.
According to election authorities, a total of 99 flying squads, (54 Sindgi LAC and 45 Hangal LAC), 303 static surveillance teams have been activated, (63 Sindgi LAC and 240 Hangal LAC).
“Cumulatively, flying squads, SSTs and authorities have seized cash/ liquor worth Rs. 29792.86.
Cumulatively, flying squads have registered FIRs in 53 cases. Static surveillance teams have registered FIRs in 2 cases. While excise department cumulatively have seized 1,027.916 litres of IML & other liquors worth Rs. 4,21,719 and booked 41 heinous cases, 18 cases for breach of licence conditions, 2 NDPS case and 185 cases under Section
15 (a) of Karnataka Excise act 1965,” the state election commission had said in a statement on Tuesday. .
HD Kumaraswamy, the former chief minister on Tuesday had said that the BJP is attempting to distribute cash after campaigning ends in a response to an earlier taunt by housing minister V Somanna.
The minister had on Tuesday said that everyone (political leaders) can move around for now but “our game” begins from tomorrow (Wednesday).
Kumaraswamy said that Somanna must clarify what he means by this statement.
“He should openly state what game this is. Is it distributing money as they (BJP) have done no work so far,” he had said.
There are a total of six candidates in Sindgi and 13 in Hanagal contesting the polls on Saturday. There are 2,34,000 lakh voters in Sindgi and 2, 04,000 lakh voters in Hanagal, according to election authorities.