Mangaluru, Feb 04, 2016: Vittala Malekudiya, a postgraduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, who is facing charges of being a Maoist sympathiser and was unsuccessful in the gram panchayat election in Dakshina Kannada last year, is again contesting the zilla panchayat election now. .
Malekudiya filed his nomination papers for Dharmasthala Zilla Panchayat constituency from the Communist Party of India (Marxists) at Belthangady on Feb 3,Wednesday.
He contested the election to Naravi Gram Panchayat in Belthangady taluk last year from Kutlur ward II.
After filing the nomination papers, he told media that he had secured 30 votes in Kutlur ward II last year. He lost because he hailed from Kutlur ward I, but contested the election from ward II, which was new to him, he claimed.
An alumnus of Mangalore University, Mr. Malekudiya, along with his father Lingappa Malekudiya, had been arrested by the police on March 3, 2012 from their house in Belthangady taluk on the charge of having links with Maoists. He and his father were logged in the Mangaluru prison and got released on July 5, 2012. Mr. Vittala Malekudiya completed his postgraduation in 2013-14, after the release. The police had filed the charge-sheet on January 30, 2015.
At present, he is the president of Belthangady taluk unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
Vittala Malekudiya said that there were about 29,000 voters under Dharmasthala Zilla Panchayat constituency. Tribal organisations, farmers, endosulfan victims were there for his support. As he had studied up to pre-university in the same constituency, he was familiar with the constituency and hopeful of winning too. Referring to the charges made against him he said, “Maoists do not believe in elections. I don’t support them.”