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Rahul Gandhi to address first coalition rally for LS polls in Karnataka

The coalition is attempting to dislodge the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has won the maximum number of seats in the state in the past three elections, winning 18, 19 and 17 of the 28 seats in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 elections, respectively.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 31, 2019 15:46 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Rahul Gandhi,JD(S),Karnataka
Karnataka goes to polls in two phases — on April 18 the southern regions will vote and the northern regions on April 23. As part of their seat-sharing formula, the Congress will contest from 20 seats and the JD(S) eight.(PTI)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is set to kick off the campaign of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state on Sunday by addressing a joint rally of the partners on the outskirts of the city.

Gandhi has already addressed rallies in Kalaburagi and held a meeting with entrepreneurs in Bengaluru. However, these were exclusively the Congress events. Sunday’s rally is set to be a projection of coalition strength and all senior leaders from the state, including former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, will be present.

Karnataka goes to polls in two phases — on April 18 the southern regions will vote and the northern regions on April 23. As part of their seat-sharing formula, the Congress will contest from 20 seats and the JD(S) eight.

The coalition is attempting to dislodge the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has won the maximum number of seats in the state in the past three elections, winning 18, 19 and 17 of the 28 seats in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 elections, respectively. The opposition BJP had a significant head start as it began its campaign in February. This was not possible for the coalition as seat- sharing discussions dragged on for around two months.

The coalition rally will be succeeded by joint rallies by leaders of both the parties across the state, especially Deve Gowda and his protégé-turned-foe Siddaramaiah, the former chief minister and chief of the coordination committee of the coalition.

Party workers in many constituencies, especially in the southern Old Mysuru region, have been unhappy, unable to digest the partnership with their bitter rival in the region, as the BJP is a very marginal force there. And Sunday’s rally is meant also as a show of intent to the rank-and-file that the parties are united in their fight against the BJP.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 15:46 IST