Mangaluru, May 01, 2018: Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Nethravathi river, Mangaluru Assembly constituency is famous for its pilgrim centres, beaches, and historical sights. The history of the constituency is well documented and part of the Indian ethos, and various rulers of the region from ancient times.
Also no doubt that it is a literate area and an educational hub, with universities, medical colleges, dental colleges and engineering colleges. People’s attention from different parts of the world are on this region.
The constituency was referred to as ‘Mangalore 2’ when the election procedures began in Karnataka decades ago and for the first four elections. In 1978, it was renamed Ullal and in 2008, it was renamed Mangalore, after the delimitation of constituencies.
Of the last 14 elections (including the by-election of 2007), right from the first elections in 1957 to the elections in 2013, the Congress has won 11 times, while the BJP has managed to win only once and the Left parties CPI and CPM have registered victory twice. In all the 14 times, except in 1957, the Congress has fielded only Muslim candidates.
In this election, there are five candidates in fray – U T Khader (Congress), Santhosh Kumar Rai Boliyaru (BJP), K Ashraf (JDS), Nithin Kumar (CPM) and Usman (MEP).
The 2008 polls had as many as nine candidates, of which five, including U T Khader, were Muslims. While Khader secured 50,718 votes, the other Muslim candidates together could secure only 4,622 votes.
The 2013 polls witnessed 15 candidates, of which nearly a dozen were Muslims. Of the 1,24,927 votes polled, Khader secured 69,450 while BJP candidate Chandrahas Ullal won 40,339 votes followed by SDPI candidate Mohammed Akram Hassan 4,808 votes.
Need for integrated drinking water projects, a full-fledged market, a full-fledged bus stand and toilets facility at Talapady (which is the border of Karnataka and Kerala), a fire station, stadium, Abbakka Bhavana, incomplete work on widening of the National Highway 66 (Nanthoor to Talapady), unscientific disposal of solid waste, lack of a permanent solution to check sea erosion as the work under ADB-funded project of Karnataka Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme is incomplete, and silt in river Nethravathi at Pavoor, Amblamogaru and Harekala areas are some of the issues bothering the constituency.
In addition, over 100 Ashraya houses built at Ombathukere in Ullal have not been incompleted and not distributed among the poor since several years, owing to the court case.
‘Trust in voters’ : Khader, the sitting MLA and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, asserts that he is not unduly worried. He said, “Like last time, in these elections too, the voters will show whom they stand by. In spite of the false propaganda against me, I am confident that the voters will chose development works.”
In his appeal letter to the voters, Khader has promised drinking water project, development of road from Thokkottu to Melkar, development of the Thokkottu bus stand, stadium, promotion of tourism, and KSRTC buses to rural areas, among others.
The BJP candidate Santhosh Kumar Boliyar said, “The constituency lacks an ITI, a full-fledged hospital and drinking water projects. Those who represented the constituency were engaged in communal politics.”
On the other hand, JD(S) candidate K Ashraf has served as Mangaluru Mayor. He was in the Congress till recently and hopes to defeat the Congress candidate in the current elections.
Will the voters of the constituency give a chance to other political parties or retain the credit for being the forte of the Congress in the nearing polls.
Billava’s in Cong - DCC chief : Some self-declared Billava leaders have been issuing false press statements that Billava leaders in the Congress are cheated by the party members, said District Congress Committee President Harish Kumar.
Billava leaders have held high positions in the party, which reveres them, he insisted.
Addressing media at the district Congress office on April 30, Monday, he said that some Billava leaders have cited the names of former Union Minister B Janardhana Poojary and former minister Vinay Kumar Sorake. They have alleged that such leaders are not given priority in the party. But, these leaders are still senior leaders of the party and held in high regard across the party cadres. These leaders have served the government and the party in various capacities, Harish said. There are other leaders including N M Suvarna, Doomappa, Vasanth Salian, Dr Damodar Mulki, D D Kattemar, Gopal Poojary and Vasanth Bangera too, from Billava community, he pointed out.
Without mentioning the name of Harikrishna Bantwal, Harish Kumar said that the self-declared BJP leader need not give his prophecy to Billavas, who know his history, including as a RSS member. The leader had associated himself with Janardhana Poojary for his own benefits but now joined the BJP, the district Congress president said.
‘Hindus too part of Cong’ : Harish Kumar further said that Hindu people too are part of the Congress. “Hindu religion is not the patent of the BJP. The wife of the BJP candidate, who is contesting from Mangaluru South constituency, has been campaigning on the basis of Hindutva, which is illegal. Congress has submitted a complaint to the Election Commission in this regard,” he said.
“The BJP has stifled the rights of Dalits in BJP-ruled states, by reducing the reservation percentage for Dalits in education. It has insulted Jainism by circulating a joke on Rahul Gandhi and Gommateshwara statue in Shravanabelagola,” he added.
Harish clarified that the Congress has not entered into any kind of agreement with the SDPI for the elections.