By S Gopinath Reddy
Are Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaih falling into the trap being craftily woven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
With hardly a week left for the campaigning to end for the May 12 elections for the Karnataka Assembly, campaigning has reached its peak. The who's who of the BJP and Congress are plowing through the state--be it the dusty roads of northern Karnataka or the beautiful locales of Western Karnataka or the traffic plagued silicon city of Bengaluru, star campaigners of BJP, Congress and JD (S) have hit the ground running.
However, it appears that Narendra Modi stole the show during his campaign on May 1 and 3 during which he addressed half a dozen meetings. He termed Congress anti-patriotic, anti-Dalit and has nothing to say to seek votes except attacking him.
In a bid to counter Modi, both Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah are focusing their counter attack on the Prime Minister while ignoring BJP chief ministerial candidate Yedyurappa. Political analysts observed that that is what Modi exactly wanted and the Congress party is walking into the trap inadvertently. Now, it has become a war between Modi and Congress and not for the Karnataka Assembly.
The Prime Minister, who has mastered the art of campaigning to decimate opposition was at his best during his six meetings during May 1 and 3. Whipping up the passions, playing to the galleries, raising the local and national issues and wooing the crowd with his aggressive body language, the Prime Minister has scored a point or two over Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, believed to be the Hindutva Mascot of the BJP has launched his campaign and is scheduled to participate in rallies and meetings till Saturday. His speeches were on expected lines playing the Hindutva card and accusing the Congress of converting Karnataka into a Jihadi state.
However, the mood in the BJP camp was somber with the sudden death of its two-time MLA and candidate from Jayanagar constituency Vijayakumar last night. He suffered a massive stroke while canvassing in the constituency last evening. He was taken to a hospital where he breathed his last around midnight.
Will the Congress leadership shift the focus from Modi and bring it back to Karnataka? Returning to the issue of what seems to drive the Congress campaign, that is the big question being asked in political circles.