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Three-way race in Karnataka
April 17, 2004 18:13 IST
As the day of reckoning draws near in Karnataka for the first phase of Lok Sabha and assembly polls, the ruling Congress in Karnataka is battling a spirited challenge by the Bharatiya Janata Party followed by Janata Dal (Secular).
The BJP, low in morale just a couple of months ago, has made a remarkable recovery and is hoping to install the first-ever BJP government in the state. The Congress is leaving nothing to chance to halt its march.
The poll battle did begin with an edge for Congress but aided by the perceived 'Vajpayee wave' and 'anti-incumbency factor', BJP has grown in recent months, widening its areas of influence in northern Karnataka.
The JD(S) led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda has a sizeable presence in old Mysore areas and is expected to give the Congress a run for its money. But unlike the BJP and the JD(S), the Congress' areas of influence is more or less evenly spread throughout the state.
In a broad perspective, it would thus be a direct fight between the Congress and BJP for the Lok Sabha and a three-cornered battle for the assembly polls.
But, apart from other imponderables, Karnataka voters had had made different choices for assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the past two occasions when simultaneous polls were held.