The Coast has been a closely watched region in any election in Karnataka. The coast is probably one of the most beautiful regions in the state of Karnataka but has very often been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
It has been on several occasions called a Hindutva laboratory and over the years has been a comfortable base for the BJP. The party continues to retain that base when it comes to the Lok Sabha elections, but the 2013 assembly polls saw the party putting up one of its worst performances in the coast.
There are 19 seats up for grabs and the Congress is leaving nothing to chance as it is aware of a trend and that is when it conquers the coast, it forms the government in Karnataka. Vikram Hegde, a senior lawyer in Mangalore and a keen watcher of the political developments took time off to discuss with OneIndia the political situation in the coast.
Hegde feels that the Congress is in with a slightly better chance this time for several reasons. The minorities- Muslims and Christians will back the Congress fully and there is no chance of a vote split. He says that the battle is a straight one between the Congress and BJP and the JD(S) is not a player in this region.
He also says that the BJP has fielded several new faces which could work to its disadvantage. The fielding of Dr Bharat Shetty in Mangalore North against Mohiyudeen Bava is one such example, he says. He says not many of these candidates have the necessary clout in their constituencies.
On whether the communal card would work in the elections, he says that it is unlikely to. The coast has traditionally been communally sensitive and many are fed up with it. The communal card in this election has in fact driven the Muslims and Christians to back the Congress totally. They form a large chunk of the electorate and can swing fortunes, he also adds.
He says that while Congress holds the edge, there are some seats in which the fight would be interesting. For instance, Mangalore north will witness a fight and the case would be similar in Mudubidre. He, however, says that the Mudubidre battle would ultimately be won by the BJP. The battle at Puttur is likely to be won by Congress, whereas the BJP will take Sullia he says.
He says that in the Karkala, Kundapur and Udupi constituencies the BJP seems to have an upper hand. However in Byandur and Kapu, the Congress seems to be in front, Hegde also adds.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|