Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to make a big impact as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address about 20 rallies in Karnataka to boost the saffron party's campaign in a state where his party is locked in a keen fight with the Congress. Lingayat community support could make a big difference for BJP's fortune in the state.
The contrasts though run deeper. Yeddyurappa, however, has most of his rivals from past elections now steering his campaign. Siddaramaiah is a virtual lone ranger in his constituency, battling a friend-turned-foe in JD (S) candidate GT Deve Gowda.
"The change in scenario in a decade or so is interesting and politically significant". Sources had told Times Now that Yeddyurappa was forced to toe the party line on making his son not contest in the Karnataka polls.
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Siddaramaiah now holds Varuna but has moved to neighbouring Chamundeshwari to introduce his doctor son to politics.
Yeddyurappa is expected to have a cakewalk in Shikaripur, where he has been winning since 1983, barring once in 1999. The BJP has not so far officially announced any candidate for Varuna.
This raised the heckles of the Reddy brothers of Ballari who feared the erosion of their own powerbase and revolted against Yeddyurappa, forcing him to drop his favourite minister in November 2009.
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A few of them, who call themselves admirers of Mr. Vijayendra and saddened BJP workers, have launched "None of the Above" (NOTA) campaign in Varuna to vent their ire against the BJP top brass.
The poster reads, "When loyal workers do not have the way to put candidates of their choice, then they have no other choice than to vote for NOTA". It seemed unfazed by protests from partymen seeking a ticket for BY Vijayendra, younger son of the party's chief ministerial candidate BS. Fearing defeat, he has picked Badami as his second constituency. The analysts point at how Siddaramaiah has become friendless in his one-time pocket borough. While Prasad is with the BJP, fellow Kuruba leader Vishwanath is with the JD (S), plotting Siddaramaiah's defeat. The Siddaramiah camp, however, is undeterred. The state will go to polls on May 12, and the results will be announced on May 15.
The central leadership appears to have taken this into consideration and Vijayendra's name did not figure in the list announced on Monday. "These leaders may not be with him but lakhs of voters are", said KPCC general secretary and Siddaramiah's close confidant BS Shivanna.
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