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Why all parties begin campaigning from Karnataka

By Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
March 20, 2009 15:24 IST
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Why do all major parties begin their national poll campaigns from South India? Is it because of astrology? Or because of history? Or is it because of the new emerging political equations in Karnataka?

All three major forces have launched campaigns from Karnataka.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by its prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, launched his campaign from Bangalore. The Vijay Sankalp rally of the BJP was launched in Bangalore following the party's national executive.

The Third Front followed suit. All forces which had decided to stay away from the Congress and BJP came together and formed the Third Front. The official announcement regarding the formation of the Third Front and the start of the election campaign took place at Dobbspet in Tumkur near Bengaluru two weeks ago.

Sonia Gandhi, too, has decided to follow the same line. She will officially kick-start the Congress campaign at Davangere, again in Karnataka on March 23.

There should be something about South India that political parties prefer to kickstart campaigns over here. Leading astrologer, Amara B L, points out that there is nothing astrological about it. However other astrologers feel that it could be superstition that forces political parties to launch campaigns from South India.

There is a history to show that all political parties which have launched campaigns launched from South India and Karnataka in particular have gone on to do well. It was the Chikmagalur constituency in Karnataka that gave former prime minister Indira Gandhi a political rebirth in 1978 -- that is after the Emergency. 

Indira Gandhi also launched her 1980 campaign at the National Grounds and went on to become Prime Minister. She particularly considered Karnataka as a lucky as she made her come back into politics after she contested the Bellary seat.

Sonia Gandhi, too, has a soft corner for Karnataka. When she filed her papers from Bellary she said that Karnataka was close to her heart since her mother-in-law contested from this place.

Political parties have also taken a close look at the phenomenal rise of the Janata Dal from Karnataka. The Janata Dal comprising V P Singh, Ramakrishna Hegde and S R Bommai launched their election campaign at Bangalore and went on to form the government.

However, political observers point out that this time though it may not be about history and astrology. Karnataka since time immemorial has always been considered as a strong hold of the Congress until the JD(S) managed to break that for a brief period of time. The sudden rise of the BJP and formation of the first BJP government in South India has hurt both the Congress and the JD(S) badly.

The BJP launched it campaign in Karnataka only to thank voters and seek continuing support in the general elections. For both the Congress and the JD(S) it is more of a prestige issue to regain its lost bastion to the BJP.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru