Abhijith N Kolpe
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, May 10: With elections just two days away, seven candidates are sweating it out in the Mulky- Moodbidiri constituency in their bid to woo the voters.
Congress candidate Abhaychandra Jain is all set to contest for the fifth time while it will be second time for BJP opponent Umanath Kotian. This will most likely be direct battle between Abhaychandra Jain and Umanath Kotian as JD(S) veteran Amarnath Shetty opted out from contesting in the forthcoming elections leaving space to a new face, Jeevan Krishna Shetty.
Umanath Kotian's chances
The 2018 election will be the second outing for Umanath Kotian. Earlier he had unsuccessfully contested against Jain in the year 2013, Despite the loss, BJP decided to field Umanath Kotian again to contest against Abhaychandra Jain. The split between Congress leaders recently over candidature, might turn out a trump card for Umanath Kotian's victory in Moodbidiri.
Ivan D'Souza and Mithun Rai were in the race for Congress party ticket from the constituency after Abhaychandra Jain expressed his desire to step out from the forthcoming elections. Things changed when Abhaychandra Jain decided to contest and was provided ticket resulting dissatisfaction for Ivan and Mithun supporters. There is a chance of agitated young leaders of the party trying to see Abhaychandra Jain on the loosing side, which will be a big advantage for Umanath Kotian.
BJP has stressed upon conducting home visits rather than conducting public meetings in the constituency. BJP representatives are contiunuosly in touch with voters seeking their support.
Even Abhaychandra Jain has often been in the limelight for his rash behavior in the public. During his tenure Jain was not good at approaching people because of his rude nature over auto drivers, elderly and the journalists which disappointed the people. Jain was too involved in an altercation with their own Congress leaders at Pilikula and Mangaluru airport during Siddaramaih's visit.
Possibilities for Abhaychandra Jain
Abhaychandra Jain is one of the most experienced candidates in the forthcoming elections, having won previous four elections. This will be Jain's fifth contest and he will try to edge past Umanath Kotian as in the previous election.
Prior to the election, chief minister's visit to Moodbidiri during a convention and conducing of road shows will prove to be an advantage for Jain. His experience will also come to play, as he knows how to attract people during the elections and as he worked for achieving overall development of Moodbidiri, which can be a challenge for Umanath Kotian.
When BJP announced Umanath Kotian as their candidate, there was disspointment over the party' decision. The 2008 candidate Jagadish Adhikari was agitated over Umanath Kotian for not visitng the party office at Moodbidiri in taking people's confidence resulting to the lockdown of BJP office. It is said that Adhikari and his supporters stepping back from campaigning for Umanath will be a setback for BJP.
Ashwin Pereira - Independent candidate
Ashwin Pereira was recently expelled from the JD(S) for standing as a rebel candidate after the party denied him the ticket. Even though he was promised the MLC ticket from the JD(S), he decided to contest as a rebel when he sensed that Abhaychandra Jain may not win this time.
But his preparations began long before the issue of tickets even came up. Over the past year, Ashwin has been laying the groundwork for this year's election, and being a popular face in the political circles, especially among the youth, he may well spoil some of Congress' votes, especially among the Christian community. He has vehemently denied being supported by the BJP, and has stuck to his belief that he may even pull off a grand victory. Though history may be against him, the young politician is banking on his popularity in the constituency. However, overconfidence and perhaps even complacency in making statements like 'the contest is between BJP and Ashwin, Congress is not even in the picture' may prove costly if Ashwin's election campaign falls short.
Moodbidiri candidates 2018: Abhaychandra Jain (Congress) Umanath Kotian (BJP) Jeevan Krishna (JDS) Yadav (CPM) Ashwin Pereira (Independent) Reena Pinto (Inde) and Abdul Rehman (MEP).
2013 election Moodbidiri result: Abhaychandra Jain from Congress (53,180) Umanath Kotian From BJP (48,263) Amarnath Shetty from JDS (20,471) Ismail from SDPI (3523).
On the Election Trail: