Lotus blooms again as BJP sweeps DK, Udupi

Lotus blooms again as BJP sweeps DK, Udupi

BJP workers rejoice outside the counting centre in Mangaluru to celebrate the sweeping victory of the party in DK on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah repeatedly said that the BJP would sweep the polls in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi but even the BJP leaders in the region would not have imagined or expected such a landslide victory.

While the BJP bagged 7 out of 8 Assembly constituencies in Dakshina Kannada district, the BJP swept all 5 Assembly constituencies in Udupi district.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister and Mangaluru candidate U T Khader is the only Congress candidate to win in 13 seats in DK and Udupi. In fact, Khader has never lost an election that he contested.

Many new faces

Though rumours were doing the rounds that Congress may lose in 2 or 3 constituencies in DK (Moodbidri, Puttur and Sullia) and 2 in Udupi (Kundapur and Karkala), the Congress losing 7 out of 8 seats in DK and all seats in Udupi is hard to believe.

While 7 out of 8 Congress candidates in Dakshina Kannada were sitting MLAs, 3 out of 5 Congress candidates in Udupi were sitting MLAs. On the other hand, 3 out of 8 BJP candidates (D Vedvyas Kamath in Mangaluru South, Dr Bharath Shetty in Manglauru North, Harish Poonja in Belthangady) are first-time contestants and 3 others who have won this time had lost against the same Congress candidates in 2013 polls. They are U Rajesh Naik in Bantwal, Umanath Kotian in Moodbidri and Sanjeev Matandoor in Puttur. In the remaining two constituencies, Dr Raghu of Congress lost to S Angara in Sullia for the fourth time in a row. In Mangaluru, first time MLA contestant from BJP, Santhosh Boliyar, failed to make it against the giant killer U T Khader.

Losers in DK include the giants District-in-Charge Minister B Ramanath Rai and MLAs J R Lobo, Mohiuddin Bava, Abhaychandra Jain, Vasanth Bangera and T Shakunthala Shetty. On the other hand, in Udupi district, except the Congress candidate in Kundapur constituency (Rakesh Malli), all the 4 Congress candidates and all the 5 BJP candidates were either sitting MLAs or those who contested the 2008 or 2013 elections.

In 2008, the Congress and BJP shared 4 seats each in DK and BJP bagged 4 out of 5 seats in Udupi. In 2013, Congress bagged 7 out of 8 seats in DK and 3 out of 5 in Udupi district.

Huge margin

Unlike earlier elections wherein the winning margin was very thin in at least 1 or 2 constituencies, this time, the winning margin is huge in every constituency in DK as well as Udupi. While Moodbidri BJP candidate Umanath Kotian polled 87,027 votes, Congress candidate Abhaychandra Jain polled 57,374 (margin 29,653).

The lowest winning margin in DK was registered in Bantwal Assembly constituency. While Rajesh Naik (BJP) polled 97,802 votes, B Ramanath Rai (Cong) polled 81,831 votes (margin 15,971).

The total number of votes polled under NOTA in the district is 8,809.
Similarly, Kundapur BJP candidate Haladi Srinivas Shetty (1,03,434) won with a margin of 56,405 votes against Congress candidate Rakesh Malli (47,029). The lowest winning margin in Udupi was registered in Kaup Assembly constituency. While Lalaji R Mendon (BJP) polled 75,893 votes, Vinay Kumar Sorake (Cong) polled 63,976 votes (margin 11,917).

Poor show

Quite interestingly, no candidate from CPM, JD(S), JD(U) or MEP managed to get more than 3,000 votes in DK and Udupi.

In fact, except the Congress and BJP candidates, all other candidates lost their deposit in the coastal region.