Dust settles on tough Phase 3 campaign
Campaigning for the third phase of polling in 116 Lok Sabha constituencies across 15 States and union territories ended on Sunday.
The third phase of voting on Tuesday will decide the fate of BJP president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad in Kerala, his second seat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only talked about his government’s muscular approach to national security but while campaigning in Patan reached out to farmers as well.
“Addressed a massive rally in Patan. Gujarat has decided to give BJP a similar mandate as they did in 2014! Talked about measures taken for better irrigation, farmer welfare and Ease of Living,” tweeted Mr. Modi.
Davangere | Karnataka
Congress hopes AHINDA can tide over Lingayat ‘backlash’
A change in caste arithmetic is the Congress’ gamble as it seeks to break into the Bharatiya Janata Party’s fortress in Davangere Lok Sabha constituency. After 23 years, the Congress has nominated a Kuruba candidate in a constituency where Lingayat politics has been in the forefront.
Since 1998, the electoral battle for the heart of Karnataka was between families of Congress’s Shamanur Shivashankarappa and the BJP’s incumbent MP and former Union Minister G.M. Siddeshwar. Both the families are influential Veerashaiva-Lingayat leaders.
This year too, it seemed like the pattern would continue. Mr. Shivashankarappa was announced as the candidate by March-end, but he rejected ticket a few days later. The Congress refused to renominate his son S.S. Mallikarjun, who has lost thrice in the parliamentary polls since 2004 and even in the recent Assembly elections. Eventually, former Zilla Panchayat president H.B. Manjappa, a Kuruba leader from Honnali whose candidature was proposed by the Shamanur family, was selected.
In some ways, the educational hub has seen low-key campaigning from national players. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in nearby Chitradurga constituency has galvanised workers here, for the Congress, the lone rally of note was from former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whose visit on Saturday was aimed at consolidating AHINDA (Minorities, Backward Classes and Dalit) votes.
“It is after more than two decades that a Backward Classes leader has been given a chance. The AHINDA community has been mobilised in support, and so has the local farmers’ group (Raitha sangha). The anger over the Lingayat religion tag has subsided drastically and many from the community support us,” says Mr. Manjappa.
The Lingayat backlash could perhaps be seen in the 2018 Assembly election results. The Congress’ tally was reduced from seven Assembly segments in 2013 to just two in Davangere constituency, while the BJP’s has risen from none to six now.
Kalpetta | Kerala
Ready to enter Varanasi fray if Rahul Gandhi asks: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
All India Congress Committee general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has said that she is willing to contest in the Varanasi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election.
Speaking to mediapersons just before concluding her two-day visit in Wayanad on Sunday, Ms. Vadra said she was ready to enter the fray if she was asked by her brother and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to contest in Varanasi.
“I will be happy to contest in Varanasi if my brother Rahul Gandhi insists,” Ms. Vadra said.
Pathanamthitta | Kerala
High-pitched campaigning ends in Kerala
The pre-poll campaigning by the warring political camps came to a close with high voltage performance by each one of them in all the seven Assembly segments of the Parliament constituency that spreads across Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts on Sunday afternoon.
The warring political groups raised high-pitched slogans in support of their candidates.
The sound and fury of the poll campaign came to a halt when the clock bell chimed at 6 p.m.
As many as 42 persons, including four police personnel, were injured when the noisy culmination of the poll campaign by the opposing fronts ended in clashes between two groups in Thiruvalla town on Sunday afternoon.
The situation took a violent turn when the NDA workers took their vehicle to the SCS Junction which was totally occupied by the LDF workers in the afternoon. The NDA vehicle was attacked and workers of both the fronts were injured in the pelting of stones and glass bottles at each other that followed.
The NDA workers, led by its district leaders, staged a dharna before the Revenue Divisional Office in Thiruvalla later, demanding deployment of Central Forces in the constituency to ensure that Tuesday’s polling remained free and fair.