Kundapur, Apr 14, 2018 : Base of tile industry in Udupi district, Kundapur Assembly constituency also houses some famous temples including the Kundeshwar Temple in Kundapur, Annegudde Siddhivinayaka Temple at Kumbasi, and the Durgaparmeshwari Temple in Mandarti.
Yet, the biggest problem in the constituency is the slow pace of work on the Varahi Irrigation Project, started nearly four decades ago. The first phase of this project was inaugurated in May, 2015. When fully completed, this project will provide irrigation facility to 15,700 hectares of land.
Naxalite-affected villages such as Amasebail and Madamakki fall under this constituency. The lack of an underground drainage system and delay in the construction of the flyover are among the problems dogging Kundapur town.
Of the 13 Assembly elections held since 1957, the Congress has won six times, while the BJP won thrice, the Praja Socialist Party (PSP) twice, the Janata Party and an Independent candidate one time each.
Senior Congress leader Pratapchandra Shetty won four times from this constituency – 1983, 1985, 1989, and 1994 Assembly elections, till he was defeated by BJP candidate Halady Srinivas Shetty by a margin of 1,020 votes in the 1999 polls. MLA Halady scored a hat-trick for the BJP, when he defeated the Congress candidate Ashok Kumar Hegde by a margin of 19,665 votes in the 2004 Assembly elections and the Congress candidate K. Jayaprakash Hegde by a margin of 25,083 votes in the 2008 Assembly elections. But Halady Srinivas resigned as MLA and quit the BJP in 2012, after he was denied a berth in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s Cabinet at the last moment, despite being assured of it by the BJP leadership.
Miffed by the snub, Shetty contested as an Independent and defeated Congress candidate Malyady Shivaram Shetty, by a margin of 40,611 voters in the 2013 Assembly elections – the highest in the district, and had his revenge by pushing BJP candidate Kishore Kumar to the third position. Since 1999 polls, Mr. Shetty has won by an increased margin of votes in every successive election.
After a patch-up initiated by the senior leaders of the BJP Shetty has since returned to the party fold this year and has also been given the ticket from the party. Ever since its defeat in 1999, the Congress party has struggled to find a candidate to match the four-term MLA’s popularity.
The aspirants for the Congress ticket include Rakesh Malli, president, State unit of Indian National Trade Unions Congress (INTUC); Kripa Alva, chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights; Shyamala Bhandary and Naveen Shetty, senior Congress leaders.
Prakash Shetty Thekkatte of Janata Dal (Secular) will also be in the ring from here.