Mangaluru, March 17, 2019: Unwilling to toe the Congress line anymore, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has decided to field a candidate from Dakshina Kannada this Lok Sabha poll and has even begun its campaign with the slogan, "Vote for SDPI to defeat the BJP."
"We have decided to contest this election and are confident of success. We want all secular minded people to support us and defeat the BJP," said SDPI district president, Athavulla Jokatte on Friday, March 15 at a press meet. Denying that this would split the secular vote, he recalled that despite the Congress taking on the BJP in a direct fight in the 2018 assembly poll, it lost miserably in Dakshina Kannada.
The outfit, which is likely to declare its candidate on Sunday, has gained support in the district over the last few years and has successfully contested the local body elections in the past. But it decided against fielding a candidate in the 2018 assembly election at the request of the Congress, which did not want division of the secular vote in the district.
"The BJP has been in power in the DK parliament constituency for 28 years. The Congress has not been able to dent its votebank in three decades. How can the SDPI be blamed?" he demanded, adding, “The Congress is not a secular party. It has failed to defeat the BJP. There is no point in voting for it. Only the SDPI can stop the BJP. As minorities and dalit account for seven lakh vote in the constituency, if all the secular voters unite, we will be able to emerge victorious.”