Mumbai, (The Hindu): More than anything else, it was the Modi wave, the Hindutva issues and a well-oiled organisational structure that helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to sweep all five Assembly constituencies of Udupi, Byndoor, Kundapur, Kaup and Karkala in Udupi district.
It is for the first time after the formation of Udupi district in 1997 that the BJP has all the five seats in its kitty. The Congress leaders used to privately concede that the party would retain its three seats of Udupi, Kaup and Byndoor.
But after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Udupi on May 1, the entire scenario changed and the BJP workers became more confident of their victory after this visit
Even in a seat like Kaup, where the margin of victory was around 2,000 since the 2004 Assembly elections, the BJP won by a margin of 11,919 votes this time.
The BJP was successful in convincing the people about the alleged murders of 24 Sangh Parivar activists. There was feeble attempt from the Congress to counter this propaganda that some persons in this list had nothing to do with communal issues.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah did not visit the Sri Krishna Mutt/Temple even once during his five year tenure during his six visits to the district.
The BJP portrayed this as an “anti-Hindu” move, inspite of the clarification by Mr. Siddaramaiah that he had visited it earlier.
The Tipu Jayanti celebrations organised by the government also came under sharp attack from the BJP.
While the BJP’s campaign was focused, the Congress party relied solely on the ‘Bhagya’ schemes to take it to success. Other than the AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Padubidri in Kaup constituency on March 20, no other Congress leader came to campaign.
The Congress leaders failed to realise ground realities.
Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, was so overconfident that he said that he aimed to win with the highest margin of victory in the State and did constant flip-flops on joining the BJP.
Finally, despite a meteoric rise in the Congress government, he failed to retain his own seat.
The Congress scored a self goal by delaying the candidate selection for Karkala for a long time and imposed the former MLA Gopal Bhandary though the workers favoured the DCC vice-president Uday Shetty Muniyal.
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