Puttur, Feb 21, 2018 : MLAs in DK are not facing any serious competition from within the party for the ensuing Assembly polls, Puttur constituency is witnessing a different turn of events.
Former Puttur block president Kavu Hemanath Shetty, who had launched Bharatiya Hindu Parishat (BHP) to counter BJP’s Hindutva in 2015, has thrown his hat into the ring, saying incumbent MLA Shakunthala T. Shetty is yet to become a true Congress worker.
MLA Shankuntala Shetty, who represented Puttur as a BJP MLA during 2004-2008, rebelled when she was denied the ticket in 2008 to contest as an independent candidate. On her expulsion from the party, she joined the Congress to win the 2013 polls.
K H Shetty said it was the Congress workers’ charge that the MLA has done little in executing development works while all works were aimed to benefit BJP workers.
If the MLA was active, the Congress would not have lost three out of four zilla panchayat constituencies in Puttur taluk, Mr. Shetty said, adding that it won the lone seat through his wife Anitha because of his efforts. Surveys conducted by the party indicate that the MLA has become unpopular and has bleak chances of victory.
“I’m not selfish to seek the ticket for personal benefit but it is in party’s interest to save it from an imminent defeat. I have following across the cadres till booth levels,” Mr. Shetty told The Hindu. Minorities, having about 40,000 votes are drifting away from Congress owing to Ms. Shetty’s pro-BJP lenience, he charged.
‘Works must speak’
The 71-year-old MLA was unassuming in responding to the charges and quipped that if Mr. Shetty was strong, why had Congress lost Puttur four times before she won in 2013. “I have been secular throughout; I wasn’t anti-Muslim while in BJP and not anti-Hindu while in Congress,” she said. “My works should speak for themselves,” the MLA said, and added that she is regularly in touch with grassroot party workers to understand their needs.
While both leaders said they do not have anything personal against each other, Ms. Shetty wondered how Mr. Shetty could say she is yet to become a true Congress worker. “For that matter, he was with Late S. Bangarappa’s Karnataka Congress Party in 1994 and ensured Congress’ defeat; later he joined JD(S) before coming back to Congress,” she said.
The party would not deny tickets to incumbent MLAs unless there are serious charges against them, she said and added that she was not facing any charges.