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Home > India > News > Report

No smooth sailing for BJP in coastal K'taka

Vicky Nanjappa | May 16, 2008 00:43 IST

Will the Congress take coastal Karnataka away from the Bharatiya Janata Party? This is the big question doing the rounds as the state goes for the second round of polls on Friday.

Battleground Karnataka

Political pundits feel that the scenario in coastal Karnataka (Dakshin Kannada, Uttar Kannada and Udupi) is changing slowly and this time around, it may not be a cake walk for the BJP as it was in the 2004 elections.

In 2004, the BJP had bagged 15 out of the 19 seats, thus pushing the overall tally of the BJP to 79 in the Karnataka legislative assembly. This apart, the BJP also won all three Lok Sabha seats in 2004, thus proving that Coastal Karnataka was undoubtedly its stronghold.

'Congress will win 135 seats in K'taka'

Although BJP seems confident, there is also this fear that the Congress may just turn things around. They are aware of a couple of mistakes which the Congress is banking on. The rebellion in Puttur and the endless number of incidents, which have disturbed communal harmony in the coastal belt, has not gone down too well with the BJP's image.

Mangalore is being seen as a key destination for growth after Bangalore and several residents of the area feel that the city should have grown sooner had it not been for its image of a communally sensitive area. The Congress hopes to capitalize on these factors and plans to improve its position in the coastal belt.

Chasing the lure of black gold

The BJP has played the Hindutva card all these years and has succeeded in it. Come elections and the entire belt was decked with saffron flags, thus giving the impression that is a Hindu Rashtra. However, this time around with the Election Commission norms in place, poll pundits point out that the BJP may win just 10 out of the 19 seats in Mangalore.

The Congress points out that the people are fed up with communal disharmony and the educated class is tilting towards the Congress. Moreover, the voter in the coastal belt cannot be purchased unlike in Bellary as the educated class of people is higher compared to the rest of the state.

Clash of the Titans at Shikaripura

The Congress is expected to improve its tally with 8 seats as against the 3 that it had won in the 2004 polls.

Another factor that may work against the BJP in the coastal belt is the stability issue. The Congress has been rubbing in the stability factor into the minds of the voter and expect that this would have a large bearing on the voting pattern.

They are also enthused by the fact that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's [Images] rally was well received by the people while compared to the Narendra Modi [Images] campaign. Looking at all these factors the Congress feels that the trend could be in their favour.

According to a constituency wise survey conducted by, the BJP is expected to win in 10 constituencies while the Congress will bag and the JD-S 1.

Survey results:

Uttara Kannada: Congress 3; BJP 3
Haliyal (constituency): Congress, R.V. Deshpande
Kumta: BJP, Sashibhooshan Hegde
Karwar: Congress, Anand Asnotikar
Bhatkal: Congress, J.D. Naik
Sirsi: BJP, Vishweshwara Hegde
Yellapur: BJP, Veerabhadra Gowda Patil

Dakshina Kannada: BJP 4, Congress 3, JDS 1
Belthangady: Congress, Vasanth Bangera
Moodabidiri : JDS, K. Amaranatha Shetty
Mangalore City North: BJP , Krishna Palemar
Mangalore City South: BJP, N. Yogeesh Bhat
Mangalore: Congress, U.T. Khader
Bantwal: BJP, Nagaraja Shetty
Puttur: Congress, Bondala Jaganatha Shetty
Sullia (SC): BJP , S. Angara

Udupi: Congress 2, BJP 3
Baindur: BJP, K. Lakshminarayana
Kundapura: Congress, K. Jayaprakash Hegde
Udupi: BJP, Raghupathi Bhat
Kapu: Congress, Vasanth Saliyan
Karkala: BJP, V. Sunil Kumar

The BJP, however, feels that it would retain the Coastal belt and it would continue to remain their stronghold.

B S Yeddyurappa, BJP's chief ministerial candidate, says they will improve their position in coastal Karnataka this time. Regarding the rebellion in the BJP in certain pockets of the coastal belt, Yeddyurappa says it will not work as the people have realized that it is being stage managed by some of the parties.

Former chief minister Veerappa Moily, who belongs to this belt, is of the view that there is a rapid change happening in coastal Karnataka.

Over 5,000 youth have been trained under a programme called Gandhinadige. This is a programme aimed at shifting the thinking pattern of the people of the coastal belt from 'Saffronisation to Modernisation'. This programme will ensure that the BJP loses ground in coastal Karnataka, he also added.