Rebels may hamper Jain’s prospects in Jain Kashi

Rebels may hamper Jain’s prospects in Jain Kashi

Abhayachandra Jain

Moodbidri is called the Jain Kashi of the South, known for the famous Thousand Pillar Basadi (Jain temple) and works of ancient Kannada poet Rathnakaravarni.

With a number of interesting places to visit, the constituency comprises parts of the Mulki region, apart from the Moodbidri taluk-to-be.

Four-time MLA K Abhayachandra Jain has been consistently representing Moodbidri since 1999 and has filed his candidature for the fifth time this year.

Former minister and JD(S) leader Amarnath Shetty represented the constituency three times and Damodar Mulki twice. Somappa Suvarna, K R Shetty and Gopal Salenna were also elected to the Legislative Assembly from Moodbidri.

In the last elections, K Abhayachandra Jain won by 53,180 votes while his closest rival Umanath Kotian got 48,630 votes. This time, it is a do-or-die situation for Kotian as it is a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP, as in other constituencies of the district. The BJP has not won in Moodbidri constituency since 1962.

Needs of the region

Moodbidri is a hub of educational activities, but issues of drinking water, road and infrastructure are in the fore. It is a rare constituency with three private engineering colleges. Moodbidri also holds a prominent position in district tourism. It houses the Guru Basadi containing holy scriptures of Jainism, memorials of Jain monks and Chowta Palace among others.

Sitting MLA Abhayachandra Jain is confident of retaining the seat, on the basis of his work for multi-village drinking water supply and his role in the elevation of Moodbidri to a taluk centre.

His political rival Umanath Kotian, a familiar face in the BJP, believes in the achievements of the Central government getting translated into votes. Kotian said he would concentrate on the overall development of the constituency.

Rebel politics

Rebel activity erupted in the BJP after Jagadish Adhikari, a well-known political rival of Abhayachandra Jain, was denied the ticket. Adhikari strongly protested by locking up the BJP office in Moodbidri, which was operating from a building owned by him. However, he was pacified by senior BJP leaders.

Several leaders – including the District Youth Congress president Mithun Rai and MLC Ivan D’Souza – were waiting in the wings for the party ticket. However, the party chose sitting MLA Jain, who is recognised as an honest worker across party cadres. Jain even gave up the ministerial portfolio of Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, which was later handed over to Pramod Madhwaraj. Mithun Rai and Ivan D’Souza chose to adhere by the high command’s decision.

Disappointments prevailed in the JD(S) too, with Ashwin Jossy Periera from JD(S) rebelling against the party and filing his candidature as an independent candidate.


Contenders in fray

K Abhayachandra - (Cong)

Umanath A Kotian - (BJP)

K Yadava Shetty - (CPM)

Jeevan Krishna Shetty - (JDS)

Abdul Rehiman - (AIMEP)

Ashwin Jossy Pereira - (Independent)

Reena Pinto - (Independent)


Voters in Moodbidri

Voters: 2,00,045 voters

Men: 96,733

Women: 1,03,299

Transgender: 13


2013 Assembly election results

Total votes polled: 1,28,853

K Abhaychandra Jain (Cong) - 53,180

Umanath Kotian (BJP) - 48,630

Amarnath Shetty JD(S) - 20,471