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As Poll Battle Intensifies in Karnataka, Congress, BJP Shift Focus to Urban Seats in Bengaluru

The BJP began its 'Bengaluru rakshisi padayathra' (save Bengaluru yathra) on Friday with Union Ministers Sadananda Gowda, Anantkumar Hegde and other BJP leaders flagging it off from South Bengaluru.

Revathi Rajeevan | CNN-News18

Updated:March 2, 2018, 7:45 PM IST
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As Poll Battle Intensifies in Karnataka, Congress, BJP Shift Focus to Urban Seats in Bengaluru
Image tweeted by the official Twitter handle of BJP MP Pratap Simha.
Bengaluru: After a series of rallies and public meetings in rural districts of Karnataka, political parties, for the time being, have shifted their focus to the urban seats in Bengaluru.

The two main parties in the ring - ruling Congress and the opposition BJP - are now busy battling on this urban battleground.

The BJP began its 'Bengaluru rakshisi padayathra' (save Bengaluru yathra) on Friday with Union Ministers Sadananda Gowda, Anantkumar Hegde and other BJP leaders flagging it off from South Bengaluru.

The 14-day yathra will rally across 28 constituencies in Bengaluru calling out the Congress government on its alleged misdeeds. This comes a day after the party released, what it called the chargesheet against Congress, a booklet of various issues faced by Bengaluru citizens, including pollution, traffic, garbage and fuming, frothing lakes.

"People should be made aware of all that the government has done. They have been looting the government, swallowing the funds of the government. At least Bengaluru should be safe," Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation told CNN-News18.

The Congress was quick to respond. The party released a statement countering BJP's claims and alleged that Bengaluru became infamous during the BJP government's rule in the state.

"If Bengaluru needs to be saved, it is from the BJP. They are making baseless allegations. Let them give evidence for at least one of their claims," said KJ George, Bengaluru Development Minister.

Meanwhile, the Siddaramaiah-led government seems in a hurry to have a line of inaugurations completed before the model code of conduct comes into place.

On Thursday, the Chief Minister inaugurated more than five programmes and projects, including the world's largest solar plant in Tumkur, which he called the "eighth wonder of the world".

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the iconic Church Street, a 715 meter long cobblestone street in Shantinagar constituency of Central Bengaluru. This was also a moment for the constituency's legislator NA Harris to bounce back after his son Mohammed Haris Nalapad caused huge embarrassment to the party following his alleged brutal assault of a 24-year-old youth in the city last month. And the BJP strategically took out its second leg of the padayathra on Friday from UB city, where Nalapad allegedly assaulted the youth, an incident the BJP is using for its campaign in the city.

Of the 28 seats in Bengaluru, Congress won 13 in the 2013 elections, BJP won 12 and JDS won 3. While the BJP scored five seats less than it did in 2008, it inched closer to its rival the last time. And in the upcoming elections, the Congress will hope to maintain its lead while the BJP fights to come to power.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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