Apr 09, 2018: The Udupi Assembly constituency has it’s focus at the Sri Krishna Mutt/Temple and the Ashta Mutts established by the exponent of Dwaita philosophy, Sri Madhwacharya, the enchanting Malpe beach and reputed educational institutions in Manipal.
The main problems in the constituency include drinking water scarcity during summer and lack of underground drainage system in several parts of Udupi city, and the ailing Brahmavar Cooperative Sugar Factory.
The Congress has won eight out of the 13 Assembly elections in the constituency, while the BJP has won here thrice, the Praja Socialist Party (PSP) and the Karnataka Congress Party one time each.
Three members of a single family, the late Malpe Madhwaraj, his wife, Manorama Madhwaraj, and their son, Pramod Madhwaraj, have been elected from this constituency.
Mr. Madhwaraj, the incumbent MLA, has had a dream run. A first-time MLA, he became the Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports and was then promoted to the Cabinet rank. His getting the Congress ticket is a foregone conclusion. He has come up the hard way in politics as he had twice tasted defeat in Assembly elections.
He lost to the independent candidate K. Jayaprakash Hegde from Brahmavar Assembly Constituency (which has vanished under the delimitation exercise) in 2004 Assembly polls; and to K. Raghupati Bhat of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Udupi Assembly seat in the 2008 Assembly elections.
Luck smiled on him only the third time when he won the 2013 Assembly polls with a big margin of 39,524 votes.
Presently, the BJP has multiple aspirants for its ticket including Mr. Bhat, former MLA, Nayana Ganesh, UdayKumar Shetty and Yashpal Suvarna. The names of Kota Srinivas Poojary, MLC, K. Jayaprakash Hegde, former MP, too are doing the rounds. However, what has added a zing to the polls this time is the entry of Lakshmivara Tirtha Swami of Shiroor Mutt, who though desirous of the BJP ticket, has made it clear that he would contest as an Independent candidate, if the BJP denied it. He is the first among the seers of the Ashta Mutts with a history of 800 years propagating the Dwaita philosophy to enter the electoral fray.
Since his announcement he has been in news because of a video clipping which purportedly showed him making sensational claims, which he has denied, and because of the letters being exchanged between him and other seers of Ashta Mutts over the video clipping. The seer who beats music drums is set to change the rhythm of the polls.
Gangadhar Birti from the Janata Dal (Secular) and Shekhar Havanje from the Republican Party of India (Prakash Ambedkar) too would be candidates at the election polling.