Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.(File photo)
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.(File photo)

Karnataka poll diary: Royal snubs, graft charges, older candidates, the other side of elections

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2018 11:50 AM IST

As the Karnataka assembly elections draw closer, campaigning across the state has picked up momentum. While the Congress has been attacking the BJP for giving tickets to the Reddy brothers, here are some other things that are happening:

Loyalty test

Chief minister Siddaramaiah spotted an old colleague from his Janata Dal (Secular) days when he was addressing a gathering from his campaign vehicle on Wednesday in Chaumundeshwari, his old assembly segment. He called out and asked him to vote for him. But the former colleague, Mariswamy, proclaimed aloud his loyalty to the JD(S) and accused the chief minister of failing to appoint a Dalit as his deputy. Siddaramaiah recovered quickly from the riposte and asked the crowd to vote for him, even if Mariswamy voted for the JD(S). Mariswamy had a surprise visitor at his home the next day — former chief minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy. He was honoured by the JD(S) state president for standing by the party.

Mine legal, yours illegal

The Congress has been attacking the BJP on social media and poll advertisements for giving tickets to the extended clan of the Reddy brothers, the controversial mining barons of Bellary.

The Congress says the Reddys epitomise the loot of the state’s mineral wealth.

BJP chief Amit Shah has distanced the party from Janardhana Reddy, who is out on bail after three years in jail, while state party leaders called the Congress accusations “hypocrisy”.

The BJP countered that the Congress’s Santosh Lad and Anil Lad are also mired in illegal mining cases. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had briefly arrested Anil Lad.

“Anand Singh, the MLA for Vijaynagara, was with the BJP till recently. He quit and crossed over to the Congress. As long as he was with us, he was an illegal mining baron, but moment he joined the Congress, he has become clean,” says a BJP leader requesting anonymity.

Age is just a number

Politicians don’t retire, they mature with age. So goes the adage and five octogenarians are out to prove the axiom in the May 12 Karnataka assembly polls. The oldest is 87-year-old Kagodu Thimappa, a backward-class leader, a former speaker of the assembly and revenue minister in the Siddaramiah government. Thimappa is the Congress candidate for Sagara in Shivamogga district. His campaign received a boost after nephew Belur Gopalakrishna, a former minister in the BS Yeddyurappa cabinet quit the BJP for being denied a ticket and joined forces with his uncle. The other Congress octogenarians are 86-year-old Shamanur Shivashankarappa, the Veerashaiva strongman contesting from Davangere South, and 82-year-old AB Malka Reddy, the candidate for Yadgir constituency. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) have given a ticket each to octogenarians. BJP’s 82-year-old CM Udasi is contesting from Hangal and MC Managoli, who is of the same age, is the JD(S) nominee for Sindagi.

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