BJP aims to repeat win in  Dakshina Kannada LS seat

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BJP aims to repeat win in  Dakshina Kannada LS seat

Bengaluru: Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha Seat in Karnataka is considered a bastion of the BJP as the party has remained unbeatable here since the 1991 Lok Sabha election.

The parliamentary seat in the state’s coastal part has the most Hindu pilgrimage centers.

The BJP has denied a ticket to three-time parliamentarian and former state president of the party, Nalin Kumar Kateel. The ticket has been allotted to a loyal party worker, fresh face, and ex-serviceman, Captain Brijesh Chowta. The Congress party has fielded R. Padmaraj, an advocate from Mangaluru city.

After retiring from the Army, Captain Chowta, who hails from the influential Bunt community, was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and later worked for the BJP party.

Congress’ Padmaraj hails from the Billava community, which is dominant in the region. The Congress party wanted to field Assembly Speaker U.T. Khader from the seat considering his popularity among all sections of society. However, with Speaker Khader refusing the offer, the party had to field Padmaraj.

Sources in the Congress said that Padmaraj was preferred over other minority candidates considering the chances of winning. The Congress is also playing the caste card this time to achieve victory. Sources, however, said that there is no place for caste politics in the region, unlike other parts of Karnataka.

The murder of Praveen Kumar Nettaru, a BJP youth leader, at the height of the hijab controversy on July 26, 2022, rattled the region and resulted in a series of communal clashes and murders.

A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed that members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were involved, and Nettaru’s murder was part of a larger conspiracy to strike terror among the members of a section of society.

The appointment of Nettaru’s wife by the previous BJP government on a contractual basis and then her removal by the current Congress government made an impact in the region. After backlash, the Congress government was forced to reinstate her.

The region overwhelmingly remains a loyal support base for the BJP party. Sitting MP Kateel defeated his rival Congress candidate by 2.74 lakh votes in the 2019 general elections. In 2014, the margin was 1.43 lakh votes, and in 2009, Kateel, who made his debut in the Lok Sabha elections, was elected with a margin of 40,420 votes.

The Parliamentary Constituency comprises Belthangady, Moodabidri, Mangaluru City North, Mangaluru City South, Mangaluru, Bantwal, Puturu, and Sullia Assembly segments. Two seats were won by the Congress and the rest by the BJP in the last Assembly elections.

The Congress party held the previous Mangaluru or South Canara MP Seat from 1957 to 1989. Veteran Congress leader Janardhan Poojari secured the seat for the party in the 1977, 1980, 1984, and 1989 general elections.

However, BJP’s V. Dhananjay Kumar won the seat for the BJP in 1991. He emerged victorious in the 1996, 1998, and 1999 Lok Sabha elections. Former CM D.V. Sadananda Gowda was elected from the BJP in the 2004 general election.

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