Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (MS)
Udupi, May 9: If there is a constituency which will be very keenly fought in the Karnataka assembly elections of 2018, it will be the constituency of Udupi. The dais is set for the face to face fight of one former and the other sitting MLA.
The total voters in Udupi constituency are 2,07,431. Out of this 1,00,555 are males and 1,06,892 are females and four belong to other gender.
Past Voting Trends
Voters of Udupi, who have elected candidates of Congress, BSP, BJP and Krantiranga parties since 1952 might give importance to harmony among people rather than politics of religion. Pramod Madhwaraj, the sitting MLA has won for the maiden time in the last elections of 2013. His mother Manorama Madhwaraj has won four terms. Though Pramod Madhwaraj lost the 2008 assembly elections, he is proud that he has won the 2013 elections by a huge margin of 40,000 votes.
Pramod Madhwaraj, Congress Candidate
"Representatives of people should never be satisfied with the work they do. They should have the excitement and interest to do more work. I have the satisfaction of doing justice to my work as a minister and also as an MLA of my constituency for the last five years. Some jobs are pending. I will get these completed in the next term," says Pramod, who is the sitting MLA from the Congress party.
"The works needed to uplift the fishing industry have been done. Now there is a need to bring uniform fishing policy. My next aim is to implement a uniform fishing legislation to the western coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa and Karnataka. Fish wealth has to be rescued. It is an irony that central government is not co-operating in safeguarding the fish wealth.
"The first road that needs to be developed through land acquisition is the road from Malpe to Adi Udupi and Manipal to Parkala. The central government has not done this in the past four and a half years. Let BJP get this done first and then point fingers at the development done by Congress in the constituency of Udupi.
"The sand mafia is with the BJP candidate Ragupati Bhat. I have made a rule during my term by giving 74 permits. The sand of Udupi district should not go to other districts. Earlier the sand of Udupi was being transported to Bengaluru, Shivamogga and Kerala. This used to make the rate of the sand shoot to the sky and also non-availability of sufficient sand in Udupi. People are aware of this fact," he says.
Plans for Udupi
"My dream was to provide 24 hours uninterrupted electricity supply and water for all the 365 days of the year. Already Rs 270 crore is sanctioned for the plan to bring Varahi water to Udupi. The tender process is also completed. The work is going to begin after the assembly elections. The Bahugrama plan in the rural areas of Chantaru and Thenkanidiyoor at the cost of 78 crore and 34 crore respectively have come up to the level of calling the tender for the work. I will complete the drainage work of roads in areas as per the demands of the public in the coming term. In addition, 22 bridges are sanctioned to be built. Now the demand for bridges is zero," says Pramod on his view on the dreams he has for his constituency.
Modi wave in Udupi?
Asked if there was a Modi wave in Udupi especially after the PM's recent visit, Pramod had this to say: "BJP got defeated in the state of Bihar. In Gujarat, they were on the verge of losing the battle. There are instances of BJP losing elections where Modi has given a visit. This will be true in future in the constituencies of Udupi and Mangaluru. According to one survey, conducted by a private organization, I am chosen as the best MLA in the whole state of Karnataka. I have also made the constituency of Udupi numero uno in the state of Karnataka. If the people of Udupi give me an opportunity, I will make the constituency of Udupi number one in the whole of India."
BJP Candidate Raghupati Bhat
BJP candidate for Udupi constituency Raghupati Bhat opines, "Congress is delivering a booklet to each and every house which contains the development done by them. People of Udupi have to read the same. They have included the land acquisition work done for the construction of the national highway from Mabukala to Udyavar, which was actually done by the central government. Several plans and facilities given to the public like salaries to teachers, Anna Bhagya, Sandhya Suraksha, which they have not done are portrayed in the book as being carried out by the Congress party.
"Half work of Parika bridge was done during my tenure. The third phase construction work of Malpe port was done during my term at a cost of Rs 36 crore. Congress has added the grant of Rs 36 crore that was released for the development of Udupi city. However, the work related to this is not yet started. During my tenure several works at a cost of 380 crore are completed. If the sitting MLA would have in fact brought Rs 2,026 crore grant, as proclaimed by him, to Udupi, then Udupi would have surely turned into Singapore. This is a plan to fool people.
"Modi had visited Udupi twice during my term. He has canvassed on behalf of me in 2004 in the conference that took place at Chittaranjan circle. In 2008, when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat has come down to Udupi and has campaigned on behalf of me. Now I feel that it is my good fortune that he has visited Udupi as the prime minister of India. BJP has won in areas where Modi has canvassed for the party. There is no instance of BJP getting defeated at al. So I am confident that BJP will win in Udupi too.
Plans for Udupi
"My dream of development of Udupi is completing the vision of Dr V S Acharya. Especially, making Brahmavar as Municipality. Also implementing Brahmavar as a full-fledged taluk. Drinking water scarcity is a big issue in the city of Udupi. I will bring the three Bahugrama plan on first priority. The age of four-lane road in Udupi started during my tenure. The roads between Kinnimulki - Service Bus Stand, Kalsanka - Manipal, Syndicate Bank - DC office, Gundibail - Malpe port and Brahmagiri - Jodukatte were built during the time of BJP. Though the Manipal - Perampalli road is constructed, the work done is unscientific and it is not completed. My dream would be to complete all these pending works If I am elected by the people of Udupi," he says.
"Several works related in making Udupi as a tourist attraction are pending. Underground drainage work has to be done in Manipal, Santhekatte and Malpe. The sitting MLA should have taken the onus of getting the national highway built by pushing the Navayug company, who has got the contract to build the same. This job is not the sole responsibility of the member of parliament. The road between Adi Udupi - Thirthahalli is upgraded as the national highway. The plan to convert the 90 km stretch of road between Malpe - Manipal - Parkal into four lane is approved. I will get this done in a year if I get elected as MLA.
"The people of Udupi have elected me twice as MLA and once as a member of town municipality. I have made honest attempt to develop Udupi. The sand issue is another serious issue of Udupi. I will try to find a permanent solution to this problem," he says.
JD (S) also has fielded their contestant for this election in order to make their presence felt. Birti Gangadhar Bhandary is contesting on JD (S) ticket from Udupi. He has been working for the JD (S) from the past 20 years. Now he is doing door to door canvassing to increase his chances of winning.
Birti Gangadhar Bhandary (L) and Madhukar Mudradi
In addition, Madhukar Mudradi (Shiv Sena), Y S Vishwanath (All India Mahila Empowerment Party), Shekhar Havanje (Republican party of India), Mahesh (Swathanthra party) and Sudhir Kanchan (Independent) are also in the fray.
Though the rumours of Pramod Madhwaraj of Congress joining BJP were making rounds in the beginning, speculation were put an end when he submitted his nomination as a Congress candidate. Congress party has the aim of winning in five constituencies. The activists of the party have worked at booth level and also conducted Janaspandane programme in order to achieve their dream.
The elevation of Pramod Madhwaraj to the level of cabinet minister from being a parliamentary secretary and assistant minister shows his ability to work. BJP always strives to give the ticket to the winnable candidate. As the list of aspirants for the ticket in the BJP party was quite long, it took a long time for the party to finalize the candidate. Pramod and Raghupati Bhat studied together from primary to high school. However, after entering politics they have become bitter enemies. This has made the people of Udupi curious about the present election.
For the national parties, which are talking about development, their speech itself has become a big asset. The voters of Udupi will be further inspired by the visits of Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah. People will not forget the strong foundation of BJP laid by Dr V S Acharya.
If caste-wise voters are considered in this constituency Billawas, Mogaveeras and Bunts are more in numbers. As Pramod belongs to the Mogaveera community, their votes will be deciding factor for him. In addition, his status, the selection of him as the number one MLA in a survey, transparency in administration, the fame as a philanthropist, building of homes to the migrants are the plus points for Pramod Madhwaraj. However, there is unhappiness within the fishermen community saying that Pramod has tried to divide traditional and purse-seine factions of the community.
Though Brahmins are lesser in numbers, youths are the backbone of Raghupati Bhat's campaign. The CD issue that racked up during the last assembly elections, the rave party issue that occurred in St Mary Island, the mysterious death of his wife Padma Priya and the factions within the BJP party became minus points for Bhat last elections, but this time round he has managed to remain controversy-free.