Kaup needs more than political hegemony

Vinay Kumar Sorake (Cong)

The Kaup Assembly constituency abounds with history. It is the tiniest Assembly constituency in the district which has now been upgraded to taluk status but this Assembly election, voters here, who have been waiting for real issues to be addressed, intend to make their size matter.

Kaup, historians say, was known in the distant past as ‘Rakshanapura’. The word Rakshane meaning ‘protection’ in Kannada language which translated into local Tulu language as ‘Land of protection’. The irony is that the constituency today needs protection against mere politics so that its long-standing issues are addressed. 

Since 1957 the political hegemony of the constituency was almost controlled by Congress. Since the formation of the constituency, Congress dominated until 2004.

Prior to 1957, Kaup Assembly constituency was part of Udupi Assembly constituency and T A Pai from Congress was elected unanimously for Udupi Assembly constituency. F X D Pinto was the first Kaup MLA. He won the polls in 1957. In 1962 and 1967, Kaup Bhaskar Shetty won the elections on a Praja Socialist Party seat. In 1972 and 1978 Kaup Bhaskar Shetty, who contested from Congress, defeated the PSP candidate in the fray.

From 1983, it was Vasanth Saliyan from Congress who monopolised  by winning consecutively for five times till he was defeated in 2004 by BJP’s Lalaji R Mendon. He won in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994 and 1999. BJP’s Lalaji R Mendon defeated Vasanth Saliyan both during the 2004 and 2008 Assembly elections. The margin of victory was 1,390 and 967 in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

This election seems like a straight fight between Congress and BJP. Congress announced Vinay Kumar Sorake as its candidate in the first list. However, BJP delayed the announcement of its candidate as there was infighting within the party. However, in the third list, former MLA Lalaji R Mendon was announced as the candidate.

Former Dy SP Anupama Shenoy has also jumped into the fray and  promises to arrest the issue of lack of development in the constituency if she is voted to power.

There are plenty of problems bothering the people in the area including drinking water problem, sea erosion, under developed villages and so on. Added to the woes is the coal-based Udupi Power Corporation Limited thermal power plant which locals allege has affected the lives of people in Padubidri and Yellur area.

Congress candidate Vinay Kumar Sorake told DH, the present issue for fighting the poll is development. He added that the constituency has been upgraded as taluk. However, additional development works are required. “If Congress comes back to power, the government would release funds for all required structures,” he said. BJP candidate Lalaji R Mendon said that he is confident of a victory and stated that his party would be highlighting the failures of Congress.

All the contestants have their own rationale but the voters’ choice will certainly affect the victory margin. The margin of votes may also not be huge. The D-day will seal the fate of the candidates in the fray.

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Kaup needs more than political hegemony

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