Campaigning in full swing
Campaign by political parties in Karnataka is in top gear as they slug it out to face another round of litmus test in the race for power in the second and final phase of polls on April 26.
As the D-day draws near, parties are pooling in all their political might and deploying their star campaigners to drum up support for that crucial vote in a trilateral contest involving the ruling Congress, its main rival BJP and JD(S).
For the 28 Lok Sabha seats in both phases however, it is a direct face-off between the Congress and BJP which has launched a major offensive to corner a lion's share of the seats, banking on the Vajpayee charisma.
In the assembly polls involving 224 seats in both rounds, the Congress is facing a formidable challenge from the BJP, which in recent months has been able to revive its flagging fortunes after being on a downward slide.
Sensing the uncertain odds that it is facing and the high stakes involved, the Congress with the campaign spearheaded by its charismatic Chief Minister S M Krishna is sparing no effort to stop the saffron march and be back in the saddle.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi came for the second round of campaign early this week covering the districts of Chikamagalur, Belgaum and Dakshina Kannada even while Krishna bore the brunt of campaign across the state.
Not to be left behind, BJP's Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi came closely, launching his campaign at Maddur in Krishna's home district of Mandya, taking barbs at the Karnataka chief minister and Gandhi.