Vicky Nanjappa speaks to Bharatiya Janata party Member of Legislative Assembly Krishna Palemar, who was one of the ministers in the Sadananda Gowda cabinet who resigned after television clips showed him allegedly watching a porn video in the Karnataka assembly.
A lot is riding on BJP MLA Krishna Palemar who is contesting the elections from the Mangalore north constituency. Palemar is a big hope for the BJP in Mangalore and the party hopes that he could retain his seat for the third time.
The soft spoken BJP MLA is confident of a big win this time. He tells rediff.com that the people are with him and he will win by a bigger margin compared with the last time.
“The Congress has fielded Moideen Bawa against me to win the Muslim votes. If people are trying to communalise politics, then let me remind them that the Muslims will continue to vote for me. They have had no complaints and there has been peace in the region. Hence the issue of communal sentiments does not rise at all,” he says.
His opponents are however targeting him on the porngate issue.
However, Palemar seems to be unfazed.
“I am accessible to the people of my constituency. I was voted MLA twice in a row and we only aimed at development. My voters are intelligent and they are well-aware that I am capable of developing the region. They will not give into smear campaigns,” he adds.
Palemar is also unfazed of the communal sentiment that some of his opponents are trying to instill into the campaign.
“The Suratkal area has a large Muslim population and the Congress feels that they could capitalise on the same. However, history shows that the Muslims too have voted for me. In 2004, I won by 3,800 votes and in 2008 I bettered it with a 14,000 margin win. This only indicates that everyone including the minorities have endorsed me,” he says.
On the other hand, it would be an acid test for Bava. His is banking largely on a possible negative BJP vote. Moreover his target would be the Suratkal area which has a large population of Muslims.
Bava points out during his campaign that the BJP has won through a divide and rule policy.
“The BJP has been winning due to a Hindutva mechanism. But this time, the people will see through them and vote for the Congress. The BJP has performed very badly and this will hurt them this time,” Bava says.
Many who are closely watching this battle would say that the advantage is with Palemar.
If all Hindus vote for the BJP, then Palemar has a very good chance. Bava on the other hand will have to put in all that he has got. He had been given the ticket after a lot of deliberation.
Many in the Congress, such as Vijay Shetty, an aspirant for this seat had complained that Bava is being given another chance despite losing badly last time. Also, the general feeling is that the coming together of the Hindu votes if the Congress played the minority card too much.