KALABURAGI/ BENGALURU: The Grand Old Party held only four of the 14 Lok Sabha seats which went to polls on Tuesday but moderate voting recorded in three key constituencies—Kalaburagi, Bidar and Raichur—could well help the Congress increase its tally even as the BJP’s bastions such as Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada and Davanagere registered poll percentage in excess of 70 per cent during the second and final phase of general elections in Karnataka.
The turnout of voters in Kalaburagi (56.86 per cent) and Bidar (60.51 per cent) reflects the edge held by Congress veteran M Mallikarjun Kharge and KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre over their BJP rivals. Mr Kharge who has won nine Assembly polls and two parliamentary polls in a row seems set to complete a hat-trick in Kalaburagi despite a stiff fight by Dr Umesh Jadhav of BJP and all top leaders of his party.
Thought some polling officers and senior politicians attributed such moderate polling to the sweltering heat in the region, Congress leaders including former minister Dr Sharanprakash Patil and Mr Kharge himself are confident of a victory in Kalaburagi. Dr Umesh Jadhav, however, disagreed on the grounds that a feedback from his supporters indicated that he would emerge victorious as voters of certain communities— Lambanis, Marathas, Kuru bas—had switched their allegiance from Congress to BJP.
Mr Kharge, who addressed the media after casting his vote along with his wife Radhabai, remarked: “It’s evident from polling percentage today that I will emerge victorious, but you have to wait for good news till the counting process is completed. During the last 11 elections I have cast my vote in the same polling booth (Basavanagar).”
In Shivamogga, the battle between sons of two former chief ministers could well end in a photo finish as the constituency recorded 74.23 per cent voting—the highest among 14 seats where elections were held Tuesday.
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