No surprises as BJP, Cong release first list of candidates
BJP yet to announce Belthangady, Moodbidri, Puttur seats while Cong aspirants await in Mangalore North, Puttur, Kaup.
The release of first list of candidates by the BJP and Congress on Friday, has not thrown any major surprises in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district. The BJP has dropped Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat who is facing allegations of involving in a sex scam and also Dakshina Kannada BJP District Unit President Padmanabha Kottari.
With the Congress announcing former bureaucrat J R Lobo as its candidate from Mangalore South and the BJP issuing ticket to its sitting MLA N Yogish Bhat, stage is all set for a tough fight between two big wigs. With the announcement, the curiosity that loomed large over whether Bhat will be replaced by another ticket aspirant Srikhar Prabhu has come to an end.
The BJP has also announced its candiadtes for Mangalore North (Surathkal) - Krishna Palemar, Mangalore (Ullal) -Chandrahas Ullal, Bantwal - Rajesh Nayak and Sullia - S Anagara. The party has not yet announced the candidates for Belthangady, Moodbidri and Puttur constituencies.
On the other hand, the Congress has given tickets to four sitting MLAs. They include Abhayachandra Jain from Moodbidri, Vasanth Bangera from Belthangady, U T Khader from Mangalore and B Ramanath Rai from Bantwal. Dr B Raghu has been given ticket from Sullia, while the candidates for Mangalore North and Puttur have not yet been finalised.
With this, Chandrahas Ullal is the only new face in the upcoming election in Dakshina Kannada.
As for as Udupi district is concerned, the Congress has again fileded its old candidates, thus opting out of taking risk. Pramod Madhvaraj who has lost the elections twice has been fielded in Udupi constituency, sitting MLA Gopal Bhandari in Karkala, former MLA Gopal Poojary who was defeated in the last election has been fielded in Baindoor and Malyadi Shivram Shetty has been fielded in Kundapur constituency. The party has not announced its candidate to contest from Kaup.
The BJP has denied tickets to sitting MLA Raghupathi Bhat in Udupi and another sitting MLA from Lakshminarayana from Baindoor, but Kaup MLA Lalaji Mendon has been given an opportunity to test his luck again. Sudhakar Shetty has been fielded in Udupi, B M Sukumar Shetty in Baindoor, Kishore B in Kundapur and Sunil Kumar in Karkala constituency.
Beuracrats tryst with politics
As expected, the Congress has fielded former beuracrat J R Lobo from Mangalore South constituency. A KAS cadre officer, J R Lobo had opted for volunatry retirement 10 months ago, only to get actively involved in politics.
His entry into the Congress had witnessed series of drama, as another Catholic leader Ivan D’Souza too was the ticket aspirant from the party from Mangalore South.
However, the party high-command has put an end to all questions by choosing Lobo over D’Souza.
On being selected as the candidate, Lobo says that he would consider politics as an opportunity to serve the people. There is a limit to work as a beuracrat, but as an elected representative, one has wide opportunity to function. And the reason for joining the Congress is, because the party emphasises on social justice compared to other parties, he said.
Lobo has played crucial role in developing Pilikula Nisargadhama in the outskirts of Mangalore. He has also served as the commissioner of Mangalore City Corporation and project director of KUDCEMP.
Congress workers protest
The Congress announcing J R Lobo as the candidate from Mangalore South, has not gone well with a section of the party leaders and some workers who were anticipating Ivan D’Souza to contest for the poll. A group of party workers led by Congress leader K Ashraf staged a protest in front of the District Congress Committee office on Saturday, demanding the party to field Ivan D’Souza in place of J R Lobo.
Speaking to media persons, Ashraf said that the party’s decision to give priority to Lobo who joined the party three months ago, ignoring the long time party worker Ivan D’Souza was not justifiable. The party leaders who have always spoken of giving priority to party workers, have not abided by their words.
Lobo was given ticket due to the pressure of entrepreneur Ronald Colaco, he alleged. He also said that the protesters would not mind if the party takes desciplinary action against them.
In response to the allegation made by Congress leader Ashraf, that J R Lobo was given the ticket to contest from Mangalore South constituency due to the pressure put by entrepreneur Ronald Colaco, the latter has come out stating that he has always supported the candidature of Ivan D’Souza and he would continue to do so.
In a press statement, Colaco has denied of him having paid money to secure the seat for J R Lobo. He has said: “I would like to state that I can afford to provide only bus and railway tickets to others and not the Assembly tickets, if the tickets are sold for money as it has been accused of.
All along, I have been a well wisher of Ivan D’Souza and was instrumental in convincing the centre and state leaders to allocate ticket for the last assembly election.
Even now, I continue to be Ivan’s supporter and make all efforts to secure proper political position in the state, since he is a dynamic leader.”