Udupi, (DHNS): The constituency is witnessing an uncertain fight between two parties which have come face-to-face previously and had their share of victory. Congress candidate and sitting MLA Pramod Madhwaraj had taken on his rival Raghupathi Bhat of BJP in 2008 and was defeated. But later Madhwaraj won against BJP's Sudhakar Shetty with a huge margin of over 39,000 votes in the Assembly election in 2013. Like the earlier elections, it is a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress this time too. Raghupathi Bhat is contesting from the BJP again. In 2013, the BJP had given ticket to Sudhakar Shetty following Bhat's alleged involvement in a sex scandal.
This time, both the parties have left no stone unturned in approaching the voters seeking votes. They have devised diverse campaigning strategies to lure the voters. The much hyped campaign by Congress, in contrast to BJP, is concentrated in intensive door-to-door campaigning. The BJP is confident that its candidate and his previous issues will not be a major issue before the charisma of its national leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party is confident that Modi wave will work in the constituency and dust out the so-called development claims made by Congress. The Congress is heavily depending on its performance though there were rumours that its candidate Pramod Madhwaraj had gone to seek a BJP ticket to contest the election. Still it can be noted that he was an undisputed figure in the list of aspirants in the Congress list. Also, his name was the only name sent by the district Congress unit to the party high command.The Congress announced his candidature in the very first list. It is said that Congress may have edge over the BJP this time.
Madhwaraj is facing the allegation of mortgaging less valued assets for a huge debt. The handing over the district government maternity and child hospital to BRS Ventures may be an adverse factor for Congress. In contrast, the BJP candidate's name was kept under wraps till the announcement of the last list. For some time, the entry of Shiroor Mutt seer Sri Lakshmivara Theertha Swami into the fray affected the BJP. But later the seer changed his mind and withdrew his candidature much to the respite of BJP. The constituency's major problem is drinking water supply in peak summer in most of the areas. The district hospital lacks necessary facilities and the health care amenities are similar to a taluk hospital. Brahmawar sugar factory is facing uncertainities. Solid waste management problem has been partially solved. An elaborate systematic arrangement is required to fix this problem. Pramod Madhwaraj told DH that he will have no problem in achieving victory, but only the margin counts. "It will be above 50,000 and I have not seen the Modi wave in the constituency," he added. Raghupathi Bhat said he is sure of victory with a huge margin.
Major candidates in fray Pramod Madhwaraj (Congress) Raghupathi Bhat (BJP) Total number of voters: 2,07,431 Men: 1,00,535 Women: 1,06,892 Others: 4 2013 election results Total number of votes: 1,80,892, Total number of votes polled: 1,38,430 Pramod Madhwaraj (Congress): 86,868 B Sudhakar Shetty (BJP): 47,344
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