Congress likely to field Pramod Madhwaraj again from Udupi

With the announcement of the Assembly elections in the State, which will be held on May 5, the political scene in Udupi district is hotting up. Aspirants of two major political parties — the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — are lobbying for tickets to the five constituencies.

According to sources in the Udupi District Congress Committee, the scene appeared to be clear in three Assembly constituencies – Udupi, Byndoor, and Karkala — with the party almost deciding on fielding Pramod Madhwaraj, president of party’s local unit, from Udupi, Gopal Poojary, president of party’s district unit, from Byndoor, and sitting MLA Gopal Bhandary from Karkala. Mr. Poojary has represented Byndoor twice earlier.

But there are four aspirants for the Kundapur ticket namely Shivaram Shetty, president of Kundapur unit of the party, Shyamala Bhandary, KPCC secretary, Kishan Hegde Kolkebail, president of District Cooperatives Union, and Udaykumar Shetty, the former president of party’s Kota block.

In Kaup, there are five aspirants for the ticket, namely Vasanth Salian, former Minister, Vinayakumar Sorake, former MP, businessman Gurme Suresh Shetty, M.A. Gafoor, KPCC secretary, and Sarasu Bangera, former zilla panchayat president.

BJP aspirants

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already decided to field Sunil Kumar from Karkala, despite the BJP Yuva Morcha president losing the last Assembly election in 2008 and also the by-election to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency last year.

Though the BJP has a sitting MLA K. Lakshminarayana in Byndoor Assembly constituency, in addition to him, there are four other names in contention.

Though the president of the Kundapur BJP unit Kishore Kumar is the lone aspirant for Kundapur, sources said that the party was trying to rope in a prominent leader from the fishermen community. It might also decide to field Minister for Ports and Muzrai Kota Srinivas Poojary from Kundapur.

In Kaup, sitting MLA Lalaji Mendon and former zilla panchayat president Katapady Shankar Poojary are in contention. But there is also a possibility that party might field Kota Srinivas Poojary from there.

Though the sitting MLA K. Raghupati Bhat is a strong contender for Udupi Assembly constituency, the party might also consider the president of the district unit of the BJP K. Udaykumar Shetty.

Halady factor

But it is Kundapur, which is a hot potato for both the Congress and the BJP, as they will have to deal with a popular leader and the former BJP MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, who left the party after having been denied a ministerial berth.

“I will not join any political party. If I decide to contest, I will do so as an independent candidate. But I have yet to make a decision,” Mr. Shetty told The Hindu .

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