Karnataka will go to polls on April 18 and April 23, the Election Commission announced while revealing the dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on Sunday. Polls will be held across the state in a two phases with 14 constitiencies going to the polls on April 18 and 14 constituencies on April 23. The counting of ballots for the Parliamentary Election will take place on May 23.
According to the EC, for the 14 constituencies primarily in south Karnataka that go to the polls on April 18, the last date for filing nominations is on March 26. The last date for scrutiny of nomination is March 27 and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is March 29.
Seats: Udupi, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada,Chitradurga, Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Bangalore Central, Bangalore North, Bangalore Rural, Bangalore South, Chikkballapur, Kolar
For those 14 constituencies primarily of north Karnataka going to the polls on April 23, the last date for filing nominations is April 4 and the last day for withdrawal of nomination is April 8.
Seats: Chikkodi, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Gulbarga,Raichur, Bidar, Koppal .Bellary. Haveri. Dharwad. Uttara Kannada, Davanagere Shimoga
This election season, the Congress-JD(S) alliance is up against the BJP and is hoping to make in-roads in several key constituencies in the northern part of the state. The last time the Congress won more than 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state was in 1999 when it bagged 18 seats.
Party insiders say that it is a matter of prestige for the Congress to win at least 15 seats this election, especially since the coalition partners are banking on winning most of the seats in Old Mysuru region. Kalaburgi, Bagalkot, Ballari, Chikkodi, Raichur and Bidar are the constituencies in the northern part of the state the coalition has to retain.
"In these segments, the fight has always been between the Congress and the BJP, while the JD(S) has been a non-actor. These are also areas where the Congress has a presence. Losing out here means the Congress in Karnataka will be reduced to a party which cannot win in the northern part of the state,â€ť a Congress source said.
Since the 2018 Karnataka state Assembly elections, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the MLA of Badami in Bagalkot, has been campaigning for the party and trying to break into BJPâ€™s stronghold in the norther part of the state.
The BJP too has strategically begun its fight with PM Modi launching the campaign in Karnataka from Hubballi, a BJP bastion. On March 6, Prime Minister Modi took part in a rally in Raichur, a Congress stronghold.
â€śIt will be a tough fight because in these regions, the Modi wave works, while itâ€™s not so in many southern districts. The Mumbai-Karnataka region has seven segments and these are Lingayat dominated areas, which vote for BJP. The challenge will be to win three to four seats in this region. Another bastion of the BJP is Bengaluru Urban district. The cityâ€™s voters have voted for BJP since the 2004 election and the leaders are also pretty strong. This time, the candidates will be chosen based on winnability and not based on whether it is worth fielding a strong candidate against a heavyweight," the Congress source said.