Fate of 13 candidates to be known today

A view of the counting room at NITK in Surathkal.

Finally, the counting day of the Lok Sabha elections is here and the fate of 13 candidates in Dakshina Kannada constituency will be known by Thursday evening.

Over 13 lakh people, who voted through the electronic voting machines in the constituency, have only one question in mind: Will BJP retain its seats or lose it to Mithun Rai of the Congress?

All the sleepless nights, hectic campaigns and calculations of the candidates, party leaders and followers will come to an end with the announcement of the results.

Both Congress and BJP are hopeful of winning the constituency.

The BJP had brought star campaigners to the coastal district to campaign for its candidate.

They include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and MP Meenakshi Lekhi while Congress was dependent on its state leaders for campaign in the constituency.

Sitting MP Nalin Kumar Kateel of BJP has already won from the constituency twice and is hoping for a hat-trick with a huge margin. While Mithun Rai is green horn. The Congress had held the constituency till 1991 but in the last seven elections, it is BJP which has held the seat.

In 1991, BJP’s Dhananjay Kumar wrested the seat from the Congress. Later, he won the constituency thrice.

In 2004, former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda became Dakshina Kannada MP and Nalin Kumar Kateel won in 2009 and 2014.

Both the Congress and the BJP appear optimistic about their victory. But one has to see whether the Dakshina Kannada voters, who helped the BJP to win seven out of eight assembly seats in the 2018 elections, would once again ditch the Congress and keep BJP candidate as their MP choice.

Arrangements

There will be 15 to 18 rounds of counting depending on the Assembly constituency. Belthangady Assembly constituency has 18 rounds of counting, Moodbidri—16, Mangalore City North—18, Mangalore City South—18, Mangaluru—15, Bantwal—18, Puttur—16 and Sullia—17 rounds.

After the postal ballots are counted, officials will take up EVMs for counting.

Security has been tightened at the counting centre with ACP/DySP, two police inspectors, four police sub inspectors, seven ASIs, 12 head constables, 15 police constables at strong rooms in addition 1 platoon of CAPF, KSRP, and 2 platoons of CAR have been deployed.

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