Modi wave: No a smooth sailing for Shobha

Cuisine and culture differ from region to region in Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency. Yet, a belief that the country is safe in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the common thread that binds the coastal (Udupi, Kaup, Kundapur and Karkala), the plain land (Tarikere and Eastern Chikmagaluru) and Malnad Assembly segments (Sringeri, Mudigere and parts of Chikmagaluru) in the constituency.

BJP’s dominance (the party has won seven out of the eight Assembly constituencies) and the ‘Modi wave’ in the constituency should have ensured a one-sided contest for the sitting MP Shobha Karandlaje. But it is not so. Karandlaje, who is seeking re-election to Lok Sabha, is accused of being inaccessible even to the party workers. There is also a feeling among the electorates that she did not rise to the expectations of the common people.

At the crowded Malpe fishing port, an elderly woman, selling fresh prawns and who does not wished to be named, said Shobakka’s response to trace the seven missing fishermen was not good enough.

Karandlaje’s political opponent and JD(S)-Congress coalition candidate Pramod Madhwaraj encashed the issue to accuse the Centre of remaining silent as it was aware that the fishing boat ‘Suvarna Thribhuja’ with seven fishermen on board, had collided with a Navy ship on December 15, 2018.  

Karandlaje is also accused of not redressing complaints from residents on water scarcity and underpasses on NH 66 being unscientific.

Sringeri-based entrepreneur Harish Shetty said voters in Malnad feel that Karandlaje has failed in opposing the Centre’s anti-people projects, like Kasturirangan report. The work on widening of NH 66 connecting Mangaluru and Sringeri was not expedited, he added. 

Aboobaker, a coffee planter at Kottigehara, accused her of not highlighting their grievances in the Parliament. Harish, a hotelier at Kalasa, said Jayaprakash Hegde, who was defeated in the previous hustings (Congress), was a better candidate.

Unconfirmed reports continue to do the rounds that Hegde’s supporters are yet not able to come to terms on accepting Karandlaje as BJP’s candidate and have been urging voters to exercise NOTA.

How these issues will tilt the scale in favour of Madhwaraj, will largely depend on Karandlaje’s response during the run-up to the elections.

At present, the only factors that seem to advantageous to Karandlaje appear to be the confusion over the candidature of Madhwaraj (Pramod has not tendered resignation to Congress, but is contesting as a JD-S nominee). “Pramod is also a total stranger in some parts of Chikkamagaluru district,” Umesh, a tea vendor at Kottigahara, said.

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Modi wave: No a smooth sailing for Shobha

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