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Updated: April 17, 2014 12:02 IST

Campaign skirted debate on key issues, say experts

Special Correspondent
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The campaign by political parties for the Lok Sabha election in Dakshina Kannada constituency lacked vision and it skirted healthy debate on key issues, said some independent observers.

Though some topics like diverting the Nethravati and declaring Mangalore as petroleum, chemical and petrochemical investment region (PCPIR) were discussed to some extent along with some national issues like security, the stand of the parties on them were vague, the observers told The Hindu.

The focus of the campaign stooped to low personal level, caste-wise taking away the focus on issues, which deserved serious attention and clarity of the parties, they said.

Jayaraj Amin, a professor of political science at Mangalore University, said that industrialisation verses environment was the key issue for taking up any major project in the district now. No party made it clear how they would balance the two or for which they would give preference and why. They did not spell out clearly on how to involve people in realising the major projects without forceful eviction of people. No party specified whether they would give priority for heavy, medium or small industries and which specific industry they wanted to set up.

Mr. Amin said that a majority of parties were not clear on how to generate employment and which sector they would prefer. The professor said that Mangalore could not depend on the Nethravati waters for long. There should be an alternative mega water source for the city. Though a proposal to get water from the Lakhya dam, now defunct, in Kudremukh range was doing rounds no party spoke about it and no party came out with specific water management plans.

Ramesh K., head, Department of Political Science, Vivekananda College, Puttur, said that views of two major political parties and their candidates on the Nethravati diversion were contradictory. If the candidates opposed it their parties did not. No party came out with specific plans to prevent sea erosion. Though a candidate did raise the PCPIR project plan, he soon backtracked stating if the people did not want it would be dropped. Another major party totally opposed the project. The matter ended there itself without a debate on the alternative to the PCPIR project.

Vani Rajagopal, a Bharatanatyam dancer-cum-college teacher, said campaigning stooped to personal level, like the “one related to the wife” of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. There should have been a healthy debate on key issues.

K. Rama Bhat, senior politician and former MLA, said that in Lok Sabha election, the issues of constituency mattered less. Parliamentary elections were fought on national issues such as economy, planning and security. But the discussions became individual centric, he said.

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