The two-time Udupi MLA had to opt out from election after the ‘sleaze CD’ row
Raghupati Bhat’s track record as Udupi MLA for the past five years is a combination of achievements and failures. A two-term MLA Mr. Bhat is not seeking re-election following the sleaze CD controversy which purportedly featured him.
Despite several attempts, Mr. Bhat was not able to revive the sick Brahmavar Cooperative Sugar Factory, which has an accumulated loss of over Rs. 40 crore.
The Swarna Second Stage Drinking Water Project to provide drinking water to Udupi city and surrounding areas was completed on his watch. But the claim of providing 24-hour water supply to the city fell flat as some areas of the city continues to reel under water scarcity this year, too.
The underground drainage network could not be extended to all the areas of the city. Though the Town Hall was renovated at a cost of Rs. 4 crore, controversy erupted over contracting it to a private agency.
The exorbitant rent also came in for criticism from Opposition parties and some cultural organisations.
Mr. Bhat courted controversy in February last year when a three-day camp-out on the Spring Zouk Island Music Festival at St. Mary’s Island about 6-km off Malpe, faced flak for allegedly allowing free flow of liquor and drugs. Television channels also aired tapes of foreign guests purportedly having sex during the festival.
With the image of the BJP and the MLA taking a beating, the party last month lost the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) elections after a gap of 45 years.
As regards his achievements, Mr. Bhat played a key role in getting the Udupi-Manipal Road widened into a four-lane at a cost of Rs. 39 crore, easing traffic.
The District Offices Complex, constructed at a cost of Rs. 30 crore at End Point in Manipal, brought nearly 40 government departments including the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and zilla panchayat under one roof. Construction of the District Indoor Stadium, renovation of Bhujanga Park with an open-air theatre and a walking track, free training to 1,500 students of 48 high schools in Yakshagana, and the launch of Kalsank-Gundibail Road widening work are some of his achievements.
But Mr. Bhat would have to share the laurels with the former Minister late V.S. Acharya, who ensured timely completion of the projects using his rapport with both B.S. Yeddyurappa and D.V. Sadananda Gowda during their tenure as Chief Ministers.