Karnataka: On the last day of campaigning, Eknath Shinde, Rahul Gandhi to woo voters

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde meeting voters on the last day

priyanka-amit Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and Home Minister Amit Shah campaigning in Karnataka | PTI

The campaigning for Karnataka Assembly elections will end on Monday with senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde meeting voters on the last day. 

While Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are already in the state, actively involved in the campaign. Rahul met with gig workers and delivery partners in Bengaluru on Sunday and is expected to meet more voters at a local cafe in the capital city on Monday. 

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge too several public meetings scheduled for the day. 

Buoyed by pre-poll surveys predicting an edge for the party, the Congress had unleashed intense campaigning, led by state leaders Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, in Karnataka. The presence of Kharge, who hails from the state, is said to have boosted the party's prospects. 

Unlike Gujarat, the Karnataka elections too saw the party's top leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi crisscrossing the state. The duo camped in the state for several days and in public meetings, hit out at the BJP for alleged corruption. The rallies conducted by the Gandhis also saw a good turnout. 

The Congress capped up the campaigning by roping in former AICC president Sonia Gandhi, who addressed a party rally in Hubballi on Saturday. The party has set a target of winning 150 seats.

As for the BJP,  Monday's campaign will be helmed by Eknath Shinde who has roadshows scheduled at Kapu and Udupi town. Before heading to Udupi, Shinde will visit the Sri Manjunatha Swamy Temple. He will then meet the Dharmasthala temple's Dharmadhikari, Veerendra Hegde, BJP sources said. He is also expected to visit the Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi before returning home the same day. 

The party's main weapon in the campaign was obviously Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who drew in a huge crowd. Even before the poll dates were announced, Modi had been in the state seven times to unveil government schemes and projects. He also addressed numerous meetings of beneficiaries of the government's various schemes. 

Modi attended 18 mega public meetings and six road shows across the state, canvassing votes for BJP candidates with the poll slogan 'Ee Baariya Nirdhara, Bahumatada BJP Sarkara' (This Time's Decision: Majority BJP Government).

The party is hopeful that Modi's campaigning across the state will convert into votes and will help it retain power.

Besides Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief Naddha too travelled extensively through the state,  

campaigning and strategising for the polls. Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh's Yogi Adiyanath, Assam's Himanta Biswa Sarma, Madya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa's Pramod Sawant as well as Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari, too campaigned for the party.

As for another prominent party JD(S), the election is crucial as it might emerge as a king-maker in the event of a hung Assembly. 

Plagued by desertions, internal rifts, and with the image of being a "family party", Gowda's son Kumaraswamy has in a way single-handedly managed the JD(S) campaign across the state, with the ageing father taking the back seat. However. 89-year-old former Prime Minister Deve Gowda campaigned for JD(S) candidates in the past couple of weeks, especially in the party bastion of the Old Mysuru region. 


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