Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (MS)
Udupi, May 5: Kaup legislative constituency has turned into a prestigious battle for the two strong national parties, the Congress and the BJP, in the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections of 2018.
But first, let's have a brief look at the past elections in Kaup. In the last assembly elections of 2013, Vinay Kumar Sorake of Congress secured 52,782 votes whereas Lalaji Mendon of BJP garnered 50,927 votes. Vasant V Salian of JD(S) got only 4,327 votes.
In the 2004 assembly elections, Lalaji Mendon of BJP secured 33,661 votes and won by a margin of 1,390 votes. In the 2008 elections, Lalaji Mendon secured 45,961 votes, whereas Vasant V Salian polled 44,996 votes.
In the year 1978, B Bhaskar Shetty was the MLA of Kaup. Thereafter, Vasant V Salian, who belonged to the Billawa community, won for the first time in 1983. He went on to wing consecutively in 1985, 1989, 1994 and 1999, thereby remaining MLA for five terms. However, in 2004, he suffered a crushing defeat due to certain developments that took place before the elections.
In the 2004 and 2008 assembly elections, Lalaji Mendon of BJP won for two consecutive times. Vinay Kumar Sorake, who won the 2013 assembly elections, has become a popular leader as per the unanimous voice of the people of this constituency.
The total electorate of Kaup for the 2018 assembly elections is 2,26,710. Out of this 1,09,685 are males and 1,17,082 are females.
Vinay Kumar Sorake, Congress candidate for Kaup legislative constituency
Vinay Kumar Sorake, incumbent MLA and Congress candidate for the upcoming assembly elections says, "After many years the party has given me the opportunity to contest from Kaup. I won the last time due to the efforts of locals and Congress activists. I have worked as a minister for three-and-a-half years. I have never shown laxity in getting the grant from the government for the development of the constituency as well as facilities for the people. Implementation of certain works was done when I was a former minister.
"Taluk centre is required for any development to take place. None of the committees like Gaddegar committee, Hundaikar committee or Vasudev Rao committee had the proposal of making Kaup as independent taluk. I have stressed on this point and have got the same done. Because of this, 33 government offices are going to be built and a 100-bed hospital will also be built. The plan is ready for all of this to be implemented. All the offices will be built on Bangle grounds of Kaup.
"It was inevitable that Kaup would become a town municipality. The tax was being collected earlier. Kaup municipality was formed after amalgamating three panchayats. A grant of 100 crores was to be released. I was successful in bringing a grant of Rs 37 crores. After the formation of Congress government in the state, I have brought 1700 crores for various departments. During my tenure 1293 roads are built at a cost of 318 crores.
"Around 65,000 families have received BPL card. In the distribution of sites for homes, Kaup constituency has bagged the first place out of 224 constituencies of the state of Karnataka. Kaup municipality has stood second in the state in terms of cleanliness. We are successful in providing 24 hours electricity to the district of Udupi.
"Under the permanent scheme for drinking water, a system is made to provide water from Manipur river. Under the 'Bahugrama drinking water plan', providing water from Shambavi river to ten villages is done. Agriculture and fishing are the main occupations of the people of this constituency. However, due to the arrival of projects of ISPRL, UPCL and SUZLON, people have got shifted to other places. Now the area is not inhabited by people."
"To make the barren land of Kaup and to give more stress to the agriculture, jobs have to be created through the implementation of small industries. Tourism has to be given more importance. I am making all efforts to make Kaup, prosperous and self-sufficient through financial development," he said.
Sorake's plans for Kaup if elected
Explaining his future plans if elected again, Vinay Kumar Sorake said, "Though we have people who are educated and brilliant, there are not enough jobs. Scores of youngsters are at home as they do not have jobs. New industries have to be created in order for the people to get employment. So with the aim of developing an industrial zone, I am trying to implement 300 small-scale industries.
"Kaup beach is refurbished with the intention of developing tourism. In addition, several programmes have been undertaken to develop Ermal. Rs 180 crores are proposed to be released for building a permanent seawall to prevent sea erosion. Tourism is also added along with this project of the seawall.
"More stress is given and work is done in education, health, industries, agriculture and tourism sectors. A proposal is sent for the construction of Hejmady port to develop fisheries sector. Once the same is sanctioned, we will start the work."
"Except the community hospital at Shirva, the primary health centre is available at all other places. It is inevitable that the government community hospital to be upgraded to the next level as Kaup is declared as taluk now. A discussion is already done with the health minister in this regard. A building is also built in this connection. Sub-centres are also constructed. Many more buildings have to be built. We have chalked out a programme for the upgradation of Hiriyadka community hospital. We do not have bedded hospital till now. We are dependent on Udupi district hospital for our health needs,” said Sorake.
"There is no education zone in Kaup. This will be done as it has become a taluk now. As a background to opening postgraduate department, MCom and MSW courses are started in a junior college. This will be done in future in Hiriadka also. Construction of building for one Morarji school is completed and the other one is in progress. A central school is also going to come up in Alevoor. Maulana Azad school is also going to begin soon. The work of opening ITI is done. There is an intention of opening government polytechnic also. The plan to start government engineering and medical colleges is ready." he said.
Expressing confidence in Congress' victory, Sorake said, "It is a proud moment for the people of Kaup that young leader of Congress Rahul Gandhi has visited for the first time to the constituency of Kaup after assuming the role of national president of the Congress party. The office of 'Seva Dal' is also built. The youth of Karnataka are inspired by the Karnataka tour of Rahul Gandhi. Gujarat elections are the proof for this inspiration. BJP's strategy at centre and state is not successful. They have got only 19 seats. Congress would have wrested the power in Gujarat from BJP. BJP has lost deposit in Rajasthan bye-elections. Congress won with a margin of two lac votes. In Bihar too coalition government was formed. In the constituency of Yogi Aditya Nath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, BJP was ousted. These are all trends for the forthcoming parliament elections.
"To conclude, people of Kaup blessed me in the last assembly elections. The love, cooperation and faith they gave me was responsible for my victory. It also helped me to do developmental work. In the last municipal elections, Congress has secured 1200 more votes. This clearly states that people are for a party that is doing developments in the constituency of Kaup. I have worked in a respectful manner for the opportunity the people have given me. I have worked as a servant of people. I have never committed any mistake intentionally. In future also, I will work with the aim of making Congress stronger in the constituency of Kaup," he said.
Lalaji Mendon, BJP candidate for Kaup constituency
"Kaup is a place of tourist attraction. It has abundant natural beauty. However, Kaup has not developed in the pace that we expected it to grow. Congress ruled in this constituency for four decades. BJP has given me the opportunity to serve the people of Kaup for eight and a half years. I have given several permanent gifts to the constituency of Kaup during my tenure. A government college was built at the cost of two crore rupees and also Rs 70 lac was released as UGC grant and the work is done," says this time's BJP candidate Lalaji Mendon.
"I built Hiriadka pre-university college at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore. I did work on Swarna river, which is the lifeline of drinking water to the district of Udupi, in the one and a half year of my tenure. Two bridges were built across the river during my tenure. The two bridges of Hiriadka - Parika - Athradi and bridge between Baje and Hiriadka were built at a cost of 6.5 crores. Also, a big bridge at a cost of 4.05 crore, that eased the route to Kundapur via Petri of Udupi, was built during my tenure. People have immensely benefitted because of these bridges. This bridge is helpful for people of Hiriadka to reach Hebri.
"Kaup lighthouse is recognized at global level as a tourist spot. It is said that it was built in 1901 during the rule of British in India. This is well suited as a tourist attraction. I have brought a grant of Rs 55 lac to improve the area around the lighthouse. I have got 30 cents around the lighthouse converted to government land. However, I still have the dream of making Kaup beach as a spot to give more entertainment to the tourists.
"Several tourists have lost their lives in Kaup beach. So there is a plan of the government to recruit a lifeguard squad. I believe that if this responsibility is given to a skilled team, they will shoulder the same in a proper manner. If I win this election, I will give priority to this work.
"The science research centre at Belapu, a project of central and state government at a cost of Rs 170 crore, should have realized by now. However, now it is said that only Rs 50 crore is released for the same. However, none of these funds is utilized for this purpose. Only the compound wall is built. I have a plan for developing this research centre to the level of a university in the future during my tenure. This project should benefit the public. I have the desire that many more activities should take place at Belapu.
"It is being said that around 1700 crore grant is released for this constituency. However, development is not seen. Road works are limited only to the 'Guddali Pooja'. People are being fooled in the name of development. They are showing non-cooperation to all the panchayats that are supported by BJP."
"Hejmady port is everyone's dream"
Lalaji Mendon says, "I took a delegation to Pune during my tenure to make an extensive study on this project. But it was not implemented. Sorake did not show any interest in this matter. This project is limited to only talks now. People will give a fitting reply.
"Last time a delegation of fisheries under the leadership of Yeddyurappa and Shobha Karandlaje had met Nitin Gadkari, union minister for fisheries port and national development. He has assured of releasing Rs 25 crore grant under the agriculture department.
"Finance for the construction of port is kept in reserve under the 'Sagar Mala' project. We are able to get the money from the centre. We are under the hope that BJP is going to gain power in Karnataka in the coming assembly elections. We are capable of building the port in Hejmady. If I come into administration, I will take this job on priority."
"When I was the MLA, the then chief minister had released maximum grant for health in the state and reciprocated to the difficulties of the general public. My dream projects are in front of my eyes. If I become MLA, I am dedicated to fulfilling them," says Lalaji Mendon.
Mansur Ibrahim, JD(S) candidate for Kaup
Though JD(S) does not have a strong presence in coastal Karnataka, the party's candidate for Kaup, Mansur Ibrahim has been actively involved in local politics for 21 years. He is a former district president of JD(S) and has also rendered service as a zilla panchayat member in Maravanthe.
If he wins, Mansur plans to establish Hejamady harbour and also curb sand mafia. Promoting tourism and creating self-employment, establishment of government engineering college in Kaup, upgrading the local government hospital with advanced facilities, free food for poor families in hospital and reducing tax in town municipality are some of his other plans.
Looking at the results of 2013 in Kaup constituency, it is clear that anything could happen in the final stages of counting. Sorake had managed to come out victorious after trailing behind Mendon during most of the counting process. Around 74.81% polling was recorded in 2013. This time around Congress had no issues in declaring Vinay as their candidate. However, BJP was in chaos when deciding the final candidate for this election. For the same reason, there was a delay in releasing the list of candidates by the BJP.
Though the population of Billawas is more in Kaup, the votes of people belonging to the communities of Bunt, Mogaveera, Muslims, Christians and Dalits are also a deciding factor. None of the communities can be taken for granted. If the Congress candidate is seeking votes on the basis of the development that is done in the past five years, BJP candidate is seeking votes by publicising the 'failures' of the sitting Congress MLA. However, Sorake has the development card in his armoury, and one of the things that may swing the people's mood in his favour is the taluk status to Kaup. Nevertheless, both the political parties have a strong presence here, and who the winner would be is anybody's guess.