Karnataka: BJP fresh faces to fight Congress veterans
Karnataka: BJP fresh faces to fight Congress veteransBy Naveen Menezes, ET Bureau|Apr 16, 2018, 07.41 AM ISTMANGALURU: The Congress partyâs veterans take on the BJPâs fresh faces in Dakshina Kannada, the coastal district that often grabs national headlines for communal violence and killings. While the Congress on Sunday announced fielding all the seven sitting MLAs, the saffron partyâs aspirants are mostly f resh faces new to mainstream politics.
Dakshina Kannada, which has eight assembly segments, elected seven Congress candidates in 2013, leaving only one for the BJP. In the 2008 assembly elections, both parties had put up a strong fight, winning four seats each.
Of the seven Congress MLAs, B Ramanath Rai (Bantwal), UT Khader (Mangaluru) and Abhayachandra Jain (Moodabidri) were ministers in the state cabinet on more than one occasions. While two-time MLA Khader has never tasted defeat, Rai is a six-time MLA and Jain has been elected for four consecutive terms.
Even though Jain, who represents Moodabidri, had planned not to contest again, the part has decided to renominate him. MLC Ivan Dsouza, who is close to chief minister Siddaramaiah, and district youth congress leader Mithun Rai, a close associate of energy minister DK Shivakumar, were strong contenders for the seat.
Five-time MLA Vasanth Bangera is another seasoned politician, who represents Belthangady. He has a rare feat of winning the seat for the Congress, the BJP and the undivided Janata Dal. Even when Bangera contested as an independent candidate in 1989, he lost by a margin of 1,000 votes to the Congress candidate.
Once a popular BJP leader, Shakuntala Shetty was expelled from the party for contesting as an independent candidate in 2008. Shetty joined the Congress and won from Puttur in 2013.
Wh i le Mohiu d e en B awa (Mangaluru North) and JR Lobo (Mangaluru South) are first-time lawmakers from the Congress, the party has not been able to win Sullia since 1983. Lobo and Bawa had won with 12,000 and 5,000 vote margins respectively in 2013. Congress has renominated Dr B Raghu, who had lost the 2013 election from Sullia.
Though the BJP has strong support of its parent organisati on RSS, the party has few popular faces in the district. While the BJPâs first list of candidates included the name of S Angara, MLA from Sullia , candidates for the remaining seven constituencies are yet to be named. The BJP, which banks of prime minister Narendra Modiâs popularity in the district, has a long list of aspirants which includes former legislators and those who lost the previous ballots.
Some of the new faces include Dr Bharath Shetty and Mogaveera leader Ramachandra Baikampady (Mangaluru North), Satyajit Surathkal, Santosh Kumar Rai Boliyar and Sathish Kumpala (Mangaluru), Badrinath Kamath, Ganesh Rao and Brijesh Chowta (Mangaluru South), Ashok Kumar Rai, Kishore Rai and Arun Kumar Puttila (Puttur) and Harish Poonja (Belthangady).
BJP district president Sanjeeva Matandur said it was natural for new people to seek tickets as the party did not have MLAs in many assembly segments. âThere was a vacuum in seven constituencies where the party had lost in 201 3. With a strong BJP wave in the district, the list of aspirants is long,â he said.
Though the district is up in arms against the Yettinahole project, a pet project of the Siddaramaiah regime involving diversion of Netravathi river to provide water to arid regions in the plains, it has not become an election issue.
Dinesh Holla, convener, Sahyadri Sanchaya, an environment outfit, said he would launch a NOTA campaign, citing that none of the parties supported the outfitâs demands. Muneer Katipalla, CPM candidate from Mangaluru North, said parties needed to focus on job creation, putting an end to sand mafia and polluting industries. âThe campaign by other parties has been on communal lines. We will fight based on issues,â he said.
Read more onKarnataka elections 2018karnataka bjpCongressBJPJanata DalDakshina Kannada
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