It's a direct fight between Cong, BJP in Puttur

Shakunthala Shetty

Puttur constituency, with its agrarian background, is known for arecanut trading. The only chocolate factory managed by a cooperative sector Campco, Directorate of Cashew Research, under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is stationed at this region.

Puttur is the birthplace of Koti and Chennayya, the twin heroes of Tulu Nadu, at Padumale. In addition, it is also the place where Jnanpith awardee Shivaram Karanth spent a major part of his life at Balavana.

Going by the history of the constituency in the past 13 Assembly elections, the Congress has won eight times, while the BJP won five times. The then Janata Paksha won once in 1978.

Sitting MLA Shakunthala T Shetty, who was earlier with the BJP, had contested against B Ramanath Rai of the Congress from Bantwal constituency in the 1994 and 1999 elections and had lost.

Later, the BJP fielded her from Puttur in 2004 where she won. After the BJP denied her a ticket for the 2008 election, she contested as an Independent with the support of BJP MLA K Rama Bhat, who rebelled against the BJP.

He supported her by forming the Swabhimani Vedike.

Shakuntala secured 25,171 votes (20.4%), while Mallika Prasad of the BJP won by securing 46,605 (37.77%) votes. She joined the Congress in the last Assembly election and won against Sanjeeva Matandoor with a margin of 4,289 votes.Shakunthala Shetty had secured 66,435 votes (46.46%) while Sanjeeva Matandoor secured 62,056 (43.45%), Dinesh B N of JD(S) secured 6,625 (4.64%) and Aboobakkar Siddiq of SDPI secured 4,442 (3.11%) votes, Shekar Madavu (Independent) polled 1,834 (1.28%) and Jayaram Bhat Madavu (KJP) polled 1,506 (1.05%) votes.In this election, there are 11 candidates in the fray—I C Kailas Gowda JD(S), Shakunthala Shetty (Congress), Sanjeeva Matandoor (BJP), Abdul
Majeed Kolpe (JD(U)), Shabana S Sheik (MEP), B Shekar Madavu (Praja Parivarthana Party), M Sheshappa Rao (Samanya Janata Party), Abdul Baseer Boodiyar (Independent), Amarnath B K (Independent) and Vidyasri (Independent).

Dissidence

Ashok Kumar Rai and Arun Kumar Putthila, the MLA ticket aspirants from BJP in Puttur constituency, were not happy with Sanjeeva Matandoor being made the party candidate. Party sources claim that all such differences have been sorted out and the workers are united. On the other hand, former Puttur block president Kavu Hemanath Shetty was also a contender for a ticket in Congress.

Issues

The constituency has the highest Endosulfan victims in Dakshina Kannada. Of the 3,628 Endosulfan victims identified in the district, 1,560 victims are in Koila, Alankaru, Vittal and Panaje. A daycare centre for the victims has been set up at Koila. However, a permanent rehabilitation facility is a long–pending demand of the families of Endosulfan victims.

Upgrade of government hospital to a 300-bedded hospital, setting up of a medical college, shifting of SP office to Puttur, development of Bendru Theertha (only hot-water spring in South India), Koti-Chennaiah birthplace Padumale, Birumale Gudda and Karanth’s Balavana are the needs of the constituency.

In addition, Nellikatte has a school where Shivaram Karanth had carried out theatre activities. The Ranga Mantapa needs a facelift. There is also a demand to declare Savanoor as a hobli centre. In addition, there are a few bridges, including Chelyadka that submerges during monsoon which needs to be developed.

Sitting MLA Shakunthala Shetty, after submitting his nomination, had said, “The election is between development and false propaganda on the development works initiated by me. I have responded to the woes of the people through development works.”

On the other hand, Sanjeeva Matandoor feels that the claim of development is far from reality. Delay in execution of projects has also upset the people in the constituency. BJP has taken up intensive campaign in all the 217 polling booths in the constituency. Congress feels that development works, check on communal clashes and non-corrupt image of Shakuntala’s image will be a plus point in the election.

With just a few days left for the election, speculations are rife from all quarters about the fate of the candidates. Now, the question is whether the voters will give another chance to the Congress or vote for  change.

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It's a direct fight between Cong, BJP in Puttur

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