Why Cong couldn't stop the lotus bloom in Coastal belt

Why Cong couldn't stop the lotus bloom in Coastal belt

Though analysts as well as party workers were not very sure of the outcome in Udupi-Chikmagalur, it was not the case in Dakshina Kannada. Forget the Congress, even the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders too were sceptical about greenhorn and political novice Nalin Kumar’s victory (though Nalin himself predicted that he would win with a margin of over 35,000 votes).
A look at the Assembly constituency-wise polls proved that a majority of the people have preferred Hindutva.
Except in Mangalore City South and Mangalore, where Congress candidate B Janardhan Poojary secured more votes than BJP (65,042 and 58,508 votes respectively), Nalin Kumar Kateel has secured more votes in the remaining six assembly constituencies.
In fact, Nalin secured 73,623 votes in Sullia, 67,070 in Puttur and 66,176 in Belthangady (21,924 votes, 13,443 votes and 11,225 votes more than Poojary respectively).

Bhat flops

Meanwhile, BJP-rebel candidate and BJP State President D V Sadananda Gowda’s guru Ram Bhat Urimajalu failed to make even little impact. Though Bhat managed to get over 25,000 votes for Shakunthala Shetty in the assembly elections in Puttur, he could secure only 2,649 votes in his home town!
His overall tally was 5,960. As claimed by Nalin himself, person is not important in BJP, but the ideology and party matters.
Ironically, BSP candidate Girish Rai and Independent candidate Subramanyamata Kuntikana managed to poll 10,196 and 8,932 votes respectively, much more than Bhat! Incidentally, a majority of people in the district still may not know who Rai and Kuntikana are!
The fate of CPM candidate and veteran politician B Madhava too is no different than that of Bhat. He could poll only 18,328 votes, much less than what was expected.
Interestingly, independents and BSP candidates’ votes alone total upto 33,284. It is true that no one expected Poojary’s defeat, that too with a whopping margin of 40,420 votes.
No doubt, the party will do the post mortem, but it will be of little use. As claimed by Poojary himself, “the over confidence in workers and leaders broke up the calculations in the elections.”

Voters opt for Hindutva

On the other hand, Nalin stated that the voters have opted for ‘Hindutva,’ as he had sought votes on the basis of Hindutva. “I will live upto the expectations of the public as 49.16% of the public have exercised their franchise for me,” Nalin, the RSS man claimed.
Though it was believed that the church attack as well as the pub attack would affect the BJP, the mandate has shown otherwise.
Going by Nalin’s claims, Amarnath Shetty (JD-S) leader in Moodbidre) and Gangadhar Gowda’s (Cong-rebel leader in Belthangady) support helped him gain a huge number of votes in respective assembly segments. Interestingly, those votes were not BJP, but anti-Congress!
No doubt, party workers (RSS workers) have played a significant role in garnering the votes and Nalin has attributed his success to them.
In Udupi too, except Kaup, Sringeri and Moodigere, where Congress candidate Jayapra kash Hegde has polled slightly more votes than his opponent D V Sadananda Gowda, the State BJP President got a huge lead in Kundapur, Udupi, Chikmagalur and Tarikere (11,663, 5,225, 4,415 and 6,312 votes more than Hegde) respectively.

Do or die

Poojary has alleged that flow of money and liquor secured BJP’s victory. But what matters is the numbers. The Congress has failed to break 18-year-old BJP rule in Dakshina Kannada district.
And perhaps, it will be not possible for the Congress to recover amidst a number of Lotus which they have been capturing over the last decade, be it MLAs, Mangalore City Corporation or even Zilla Panchayat.
Congress very well knew that it will be ‘do or die’ this time. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Congress could not make it and perhaps it may take decades to regain the Congress glory in the coastal region, where once they ruled the roost.



Highlights

* Despite losing the polls, Congress candidate B Janardhan Poojary polled 4,58,965 votes
* DK registered highest polling percentage in its history (74.44%)
* Ram Bhat, who managed to get over 25,000 votes in Puttur assembly constituency alone for Shakunthala Shetty in the last Assembly elections, managed to secure only 2,649 votes in Puttur. His overall tally was 5,960, much less than BSP and an Independent
* BJP registered its 6th consecutive victory in DK
* Poojary secured more votes in Mangalore South, which is represented by a BJP MLA; Nalin Kumar secured more votes in Belthangady, Moodbidre and Bantwal, where Congress MLAs are in power!
* Though political analysts had pinned high hopes on Third Front, both B Madhava (DK) and Radha Sundaresh (Udupi-Chikmagalur) failed to make an impact. They polled 18,328 and 24,991 respectively and both lost their deposits

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