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Karnataka: 3rd phase polls tomorrow
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | May 21, 2008 18:27 IST
The third and final phase of the Karnataka elections on Thursday will decide the fate of 530 candidates, who will contest from 69 Assembly constituencies spread over the northern part of the state.
The phase will decide the fate of Congress chief Mallikarjuna Kharge, who is tipped to be the Chief Minister if the party comes to power. Former chief minister and Congress leader, N Dharam Singh is also in the fray in the third phase of the elections.
Polling for the 69 constituencies will commence at 7 am and end by 5 pm.
Tight security has been deployed in the 8 districts of Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Bidar, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Bagalakot and Belgaum. Security is tight in Gulbarga and Belgaum, identified senstitive areas.
According to poll pundits, the BJP has an edge in the third phase which has several districts adjacent to Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The party says the long-standing demand of the people of North Karnataka to solve the problem of regional imbalance was addressed by the BJP during its 20-month rule in the state.
The BJP, however, claims that the problem could not be sorted out completely as the government was pulled down by the Janata Dal (S). The BJP also has the advantage of a large Lingayat population in Karnataka and is hopeful that the votes would swing their way.
The Congress, which is in a close fight with the BJP, feels that the fortunes could swing their way in the third phase. They bank on senior leaders, Dharam Singh and Kharge who are familiar with the area.
Moreover, the Congress claims that it was at the instance of the party that the the committee to identify the problem of delimitation was set up. The JD(S), which is not being seen as a favourite in this phase, says that they will prove all predictions wrong.
The JD(S) which has since time immemorial claimed to the party of rural Karnataka is banking on its image. Moreover the party is also its hopes on the rural visits made by H D Kumaraswamy during his tenure as chief minister of Karnataka.