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SDPI’s move to withdraw candidates likely to help Congress in Karnataka elections

The Social Democratic Party of India’s decision is said to prevent the division of ‘minority’ votes that might help the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: Apr 29, 2018 07:25 IST
Karnataka elections,Social Democratic Party of India,Popular Front of India
The Social Democratic Party of India flag. (File photo)

Enemy’s enemy is my friend

The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI), which had said it would contest about 25 seats in the Karnataka elections, has decided to withdraw candidates in all but three. The SDPI’s decision is said to prevent the division of ‘minority’ votes that might help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The party has said that except for Narsimharaja (Mysuru), Gulbarga North (Kalaburagi) and Chickpet (Bengaluru), where it fancies its chances of winning, its candidates will withdraw from contest. This is expected to benefit the Congress. With Owaisi’s AIMIM deciding to back the JD(S) in Karnataka, the SDPI’s move will be bring a sigh of relief for Congress, especially in close contests where every vote counts.

Sweating it out in summer

Temperatures in some districts such as Kalaburagi, Bagalkote, Vijayapur and Raichur are touching 40 degrees Celsius even before the month of May, considered the hottest in these parts, yet to arrive. Such is the impact of weather that most offices, colleges and business establishments typically close in the afternoon. The government has issued an advisory to non-essential services to start early at 8am and close by 1.30pm. Establishments such as medical and kirana stores start reopening from 4.30pm.

However, with the political temperature reaching boiling point this year, party workers and candidates have no choice except to trudge through the heat.

Cooling liquids and summer fruits like watermelon and musk melon have become the edible of choice to help keep oneself motivated.

A party worker canvassing for a national party in Raichur, though, philosphised saying “If the candidates bear the heat for one time now, they can enjoy the cool confines of Vidhana Soudha for next five years.”

Will the diamond shine?

One party which has hardly got any attention despite fielding candidates in all 224 assembly constituencies is the All India Mahila Empowerment Party. It is led by Hyderabad-based Shaik Nowhera who prefixes her name with doctor.

The burkha-clad Shaik, who operates mainly out of the confines of Hotel Leela Palace in Bengaluru, says she has visited and canvassed in all the districts across the state. She also says she is a businesswomen who runs the Heera group of companies “which have interests in multiple areas”. The symbol of the party appropriately is a diamond (heera).

While some analysts say that the AIMEP, which has been advertising extensively, has been propped up by other political players interested in dividing ‘minority’ votes, Shaik dismisses those theories. “We represent all sections of society and we are confident of winning a number of seats,” she says.

The day the votes are counted, May 15, will decide whether this diamond has any lustre.

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 07:25 IST