Will the lone Cong MLC walk away with cake in Udupi?

As the swearing in ceremony of Siddharamaiah, the 22nd chief minister of Karnataka is over, the major speculations ahead in the State’s Congress faction is on the ministerial berths. The anxiety is nevertheless has wrapped up the coastal region especially the Udupi district as all the three winning Congress MLAs are high on the stake over their fortunes.

However, in the midst of the aspirants the one silent nominee is emerging as the dark horse according to some higly placed sources in the Congress party. Prathapchandra Shetty, the four time MLA and two time MLC who is loyal to Congress since 1980s is seen as the most favorable contender to the ministerial post from Udupi district.

When contacted, AICC General Secretary Oscar Fernandes told Deccan Herald that it is up to party leadership to decide over the ministers.

The party high command will take a decision at the earliest in consultation with CM and KPCC President. Chief Minister Siddharamaiah will meet the leaders in party high command in a day or two to decide over the ministerial candidates. He added that there will be a quick announcement over this. He did not rule out the possibilities of Prathapchandra Shetty being considered as the probable candidate from the district.

However, he stressed that high command will consider all options, he added.
Byndoor MLA Gopal Poojary told Deccan Herald that he expects the party high command will keep in mind his contributions to the party. The person who defeated his opponent BJP’s Sukumar Shetty with a margin of nearly 31,149 votes said he is the most veteran MLA in the district with a winning history of four times. “I will be very much pleased if party high command recognies my service and offers me the ministerial post”. The aspirant also added that district Congress clinched victory in the district in ULBs polls under his presidentship. “I expect the party high command to consider all these factors”, he added.

On the other hand newly elected Kaup MLA Vinay Kumar Sorake who drew his unexpected victory with a marginal difference against his BJP rival Lalaji R Mendon in a close contest did not rule out the possibilities of him representing the district in state’s cabinet. Sorake was Puttur MLA twice in 1985 and 1989.

He was also Udupi Lok Sabha parliamentarian for the period of 1999 to 2004. He said he only aspired to be an MLA and hence there arises no question for lobbying for the post of minister. “However, if high command wants me to take up the responsibility, I would be privileged to be honoured with the minister post and I always bow my head to the decisions taken by the party high command,” he added and said he has been loyally working for Congress since past 35 years and his long term association with Congress will count.

Another aspirant, the first time MLA Pramodh Madhawaraj who has defeated his rival BJPs Sudhakar Shetty with a huge margin of 39,524 votes has his own defensive mechanism to pledge his capabilities as the eligible contender for the post from the district.

He said that it is he who worked tough to give rebirth to the lost hope of Congress in the district.

 “There are no reasons as such that high command can ignore my candidature for the past. I am confident that my role in the recent victories of Congress in the district is taken into consideration”. 

He said he has toiled hard to reshape the image of Congress as he was instrumental in the Congress victory in Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-polls. He added he was responsible for Congress’ impressive victory in as many as 22 seats of Udupi CMC.

Congress had not won majority since past 45 years in Udupi CMC. It always registered a dismal performance. However, in the recent ULBs polls, Congress could wipe out BJP in the house, he added.

With all these claims and defensive mechanisms running around, the people in the district should keep their fingers crossed for the next few days to know the fortunate one in the race.

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