Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (MS)
Kundapur, May 8: Congress and BJP are the traditional rivals in the assembly constituency of Kundapur. It is very difficult to ascertain whether the stature of the candidate is more important than the party he belongs to or vice versa.
In this year's elections, Rakesh Malli, a youth leader from Congress, Halady Srinivas Shetty, a seasoned campaigner from BJP and Prakash Shetty of JD (S) are in the fray.
Political background of Kundapur constituency
Pratapchandra Shetty of Congress won from this constituency unabated from 1983 to 1994. A G Kodgi who was with Congress and later shifted his loyalty to BJP got defeated. Later in 1999, Kodgi introduced Halady Srinivas Shetty to the voters of Kundapur. From then onwards it has been Halady all the way, who has made this constituency his fort.
In total, there are 1,99,575 voters in this constituency. Out of this, 1,03,648 are females and 95,927 males.
In 1989 BJP secured 3,086 votes. In 1994, when A G Kodgi contested on behalf of BJP, the party got 37,770 votes, thus strengthening its fort in Kundapur. In the 2013 assembly elections, Halady contested as an independent candidate and won by a margin of 40,611 votes. The BJP candidate got a dismal 14,524 votes. Halady secured a total of 80,563 votes. People are of the opinion that the personal charisma of Halady is the reason for his landslide victory.
Rakesh Malli, Congress Candidate
Rakesh Malli, who is an INTUC president for 30 long years, is ready to flutter the flag of Congress in the constituency of Kundapur.
Malli says, "Local people have to express their feelings towards the development of Kundapur. When we look into the reality there is no road for many villages. There is a situation wherein people have to run helter-skelter for water. There is no IT park. Compared to other legislative constituencies of the district, Kundapur is lagging behind in development. The MLA of this constituency is changing the party every now and then.
"In the last term, he resigned one year and five months before the completion of the term citing non-availability of ministership to him. This time around he resigned four months before the declaration of the budget. This kind of attitude of people's representative is detrimental to the development of the constituency. This constituency is deprived of the grants given by the government.
"At least some seats should be provided for labour organizations in the state elections. I have got this opportunity due to the guidance of whip of the party, Pratapchandra Shetty and Rajya Sabha MP, Oscar Fernandes. I have grown step by step before reaching this level. I was the district vice-president, president of Canara Port Workers, Kudremukh workers and Karnataka General Workers' Union. I was the state vice-president and now working as President for the past 11 months in INTUC. I am very much interested in youth and sports and currently the president of Karnataka State Amateur Kabaddi Association. I am working hard for the party and trying to unite the activists.
"I have seen the difficulties faced by the labourers like low salary etc from a close distance. I have fought for their rights for many years. As I a come from an agricultural background, I am aware of the issues faced by the agriculturists also. Since 30 years, labourers have not got an opportunity to raise their voice in the legislative assembly. I want to become their voice.
"My dream Kundapur should be such that youth should get employment. Establishing environment-friendly industries and IT park. Constructing good quality roads. Providing good transportation system. Developing tourism. Ensuring good standard education for poor children. Building schools and colleges for higher education. Providing modern medical facilities for the people of Kundapur.
"In the rural areas like Hengavalli and Amavasyebailu there is no facility of night medical service. There is a lack of qualified specialists. Government hospital of Kundapur needs to be upgraded. Construction of RTO office and well-equipped fish market. Aid to yakshagana artists. A well-equipped autorickshaw and taxi stand. Kundapur is most under-developed place in the whole of Karnataka state in 19 years," Malli says.
"Kundapur constituency cannot be influenced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In addition, now the wave of Modi is reduced. He has negated the hopes of people. Now people know that nothing is going to change even if Modi comes to their locality and gives a lengthy speech. The MLA of this constituency himself was against him. That is why he contested independently. The sitting MLA of Kundapur also told that he will not join BJP. Though it is his personal matter, it is true. People do not like a person changing his allegiance every now and then. People of Kundapur will teach him a lesson. Making Kundapur a model constituency is my dream.
"There is a very good response to the Karnataka tour of Rahul Gandhi. This response of many people may get converted into votes for Congress. Many activists of BJP have expressed their unhappiness on their candidate Halady Srinivas Shetty. This indifference of the BJP party might be a boon to the Congress party. I am hopeful that Congress will regain power again in the constituency of Kundapur. I will be based here and serve the people if they give me an opportunity. Whther I win or not, I will make honest attempt to work for the people," he says.
Halady Srinivas Shetty, BJP Candidate
Halady Srinivas Shetty, who is called 'Vajpayee of Kundapur', is longing to win with more margin of votes than the last time. He says that the developments that he has done in the current term will decide the votes in his favour.
Halady is a man of few words and speaks straight from his heart. He is a simple and well-mannered person. These traits of Halady might make him a favourable candidate as per the opinion of the people of this constituency. Though daijiworld tried to contact him several times to ask his plans for the constituency in case he is elected, they went unanswered.
Halady, who is a shrewd politician, started winning in the constituency of Kundapur since 1999. No one is able to beat his winning streak till now. Priority is given for drinking water in Kundapur. Now the people's expectation for this term is the upgradation of government hospital at Kundapur and making the town of Kundapur more beautiful by bringing more grant.
JD (S) Candidate Prakash Shetty
Prakash Shetty is selected as the JD (S) candidate for the constituency of Kundapur for the assembly elections of 2018.
Prakash says, "In fighting of national parties is increased in Kundapur. I will make an honest attempt to provide basic infrastructure to each and every person of Kundapur if the people elect me. I have made several plans in order to get the government work done in a very easy manner. In addition, I will bring development in the field of employment education and also help the weaker section of the society. The vote of people will be my inspiration."
"The motto of Kumaraswamy, president of JD (S) is only development. Srinivas Shetty may be working here since 20 years. Pratapchandra Shetty has also worked here. However, the development is not in accordance with the grant that is released by the government. There is no system. We always see the protests of people demanding the fundamental facilities at Kundapur government hospital. People representative have not even made an attempt to know the issue. The party which is not trying to solve these issues is as good as not existing. People are sick of the sitting MLA."
"Educated, graduate youth are working as autorickshaw drivers as there are no employment opportunities. The local politician does not even the minimum awareness of creating an industrial zone here. People are on the verge of selection 'NOTA' as their option in the coming election. They are sick of all the parties now. We can gauge the development of Kundapur by the frustration of the people."
"We are bound to work as per the election manifesto declared by Kumaraswamy. Several plans like providing some part of the tax that is paid to the government to the senior citizens in the form of pension. allowance to physically challenged, implementation of Sandhya Suraksha Yojane, package to pregnant women and health insurance were started when JD (S) was in power in the state."
"Begining of English medium right from the first grade. Learning English is a dream even now for middle-class people. We also have plan to give one lac rupees to build a house and give Rs 2000 as pension to widows. The municipality of Kundapur has remained as Municipality only. If this is upgraded to town municipality the grant given by the government will increase. I will encourage the rural talents."
Halady Srinivas Shetty, who deserted BJP as he was deprived of a ministerial position, has joined the party again. For the same reason, party workers have revolted against him. In addition, A G Kodgi, who is considered as his political mentor has also expressed his anguish at Halady. From the outside, it seems that the activists of BJP, who have worked for Halady for years together, have taken an oath of getting him defeated this year. There is a possibility that the revolt within BJP might be a boon to Congress.
There is a possibility that the people of Kundapur may give a chance to Rakesh Malli as this is his first election. Prakash Shetty of JD (S) is seeking votes based on the election manifesto released by Kumaraswamy. As the dream of all the candidates of Kundapur seems to be common of development of the constituency, the infighting within the BJP might be the deciding factor. As Kundpaur is a prestigious seat for BJP, people are really curious to know as to who will have the last laugh.
Though Kundapur BJP has patched up the unrest within the party under the leadership of district president of Udupi, undercurrents are seemingly present.