Bengaluru, April 17 (IANS) A high-voltage campaign by national and state leaders concluded on Tuesday for the first 14 Lok Sabha seats in the central and southern regions of Karnataka on April 18.
"Electioneering for the first phase of polling in the state's 14 seats ended at 5 p.m after 3 weeks of intense campaign by leaders of national and regional parties and others in the fray," a poll official told IANS.
On the last day, BJP national president Amit Shah held a massive road show and addressed a public meeting at Tumkur, about 70km northwest of Bengaluru, for the party's candidate G.S. Basavaraju from its constituency.
Not to be outdone, 86-year-old Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda held road shows, participated in a rally and addressed people at Gubbi and other assembly segments of Tumkur where he is a strong candidate against Basavaraju and others in a straight contest.
Massive rallies, road shows and public addresses were witnessed through the day in the high-profile Mandya constituency where multi-lingual South Indian actress Sumalatha Ambareesh is taking on Nikhil Gowda of JD-S in a straight contest.
With Kannada film super stars Yesh and Darshan campaigning for Sumalatha, thousands of people, including fans of rebel star Ambareesh, traders, farmers, teachers and youth joined her rallies, blowing trumpets, a symbol allotted to her as an Independent candidate.
As Nikhil is son of state Chief Minister H.D Kumarasway and grandson of Deve Gowda, all the 10 JD-S ministers campaigned for him in Mandya's all 8 assembly segments, about 100km southwest of Mysuru. Nikhil's mother Anita Kumaraswamy, a legislator from nearby Ramanagara, joined her husband and party leaders to woo the voters.
In India's tech hub, which has 3 parliamentary seats, hectic campaign and road shows were held by their leaders, candidates and cadres of the BJP and Congress, which are locked in straight contests.
Hectic campaigning was held in Mysore, Dakshina Kannada, Chamarajnagar (SC), Chitradurga (SC) and Udupi-Chikmagalur, where BJP's outgoing member Shobha Karandlaje is re-contesting for a second term.
In Hassan, the bastion of the Gowda clan, electioneering went down to the wires till sunset, as Deve Gowda's another grandson Prajwal is contesting against A. Manju of the BJP and others.
In Chickaballapur and Kolar (SC), former central ministers in the UPA government - M. Veerappai Moily and K.H. Muniyappa are locked in straight contest with BJP candidates.
The candidates and their cadres will be allowed to go on door canvassing on Wednesday to meet the electorate and distribute voters' slips to guide them to the nearest polling booth for casting their ballot on Thursday.
Unlike in the past general and assembly elections for over three decades, the ruling JD-S and Congress have fielded joint candidates against the BJP, which is contesting 13 seats and supporting Sumalatha in Mandya.
In the 2014 elections, BJP and Congress won 6 seats each and JD-S the remaining 2 of the 14 seats.
Polling in the remaining 14 Lok Sabha seats across coastal and northern regions of the southern state will he held on April 23. Vote count will be on May 23 for all the 28 seats.