Naxalism, concerns of arecanut growers are among them

The Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency — formed after delimitation by merging the erstwhile Udupi and Chikmagalur Parliamentary constituencies — has pristine beaches and verdant forests.

The Malpe and Kaup beaches, Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kudremukh National Park and waterfalls, including Kudlu Tirtha and Jomlu Tirtha, mark the landscape of the constituency. The Mullayanagiri peak, situated at 6,317 ft above the sea level, is 12 km away from Chikmagalur town. Rivers such as the Sita, Swarna, Bhadra, Tunga, Hemavati and the Vedavati meander through the constituency.

There are many pilgrimage centres, including Sri Krishna temple in Udupi, Pajaka Kshetra, Vidyashankara temple in Sringeri, the 42-foot Gomateshwara statue and the Chaturmukha Basadi at Karkala, and St. Lawarence Church at Attur. The Udupi cuisine is famous all over the world.

The Udupi-Chikmagalur Parliamentary constituency, which came into existence after the delimitation exercise in 2008, comprises four Assembly segments of Udupi district — Kundapur, Udupi, Kaup and Karkala — and four Assembly segments of Chikmagalur district — Sringeri, Mudigere (SC), Chikmagalur and Tarikere.

In the process, Udupi district lost the Byndoor Assembly segment to the Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency, while the Kadur Assembly segment in Chikmagalur district is part of the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency. The Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency faces some serious problems. The controversy over the Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah atop Bababudangiri and Naxalism are prominent among them. The other issues are fear of eviction from the Kudremukh National Park area among tribal people, problems of arecanut growers and fishermen, encroachment of forest area, controversy over coal-based thermal project at Padubidri, and sea erosion.

The erstwhile Chikmagalur Parliamentary constituency shot into limelight when the former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi contested and won the byelection to the seat in 1978.

Five times in a row

Congress leader and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes was elected five times in a row from the erstwhile Udupi Parliamentary constituency from 1980 to 1996.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader D.V. Sadananda Gowda defeated Congress leader and former Minister K. Jayaprakash Hegde by a margin of 27,018 votes. However, in the byelection held after Mr. Gowda vacated the seat after becoming the Chief Minister, Mr. Hegde defeated V. Sunil Kumar of the BJP by a margin of 45,724 votes.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress won in three Assembly segments — Kaup, Udupi and Tarikere; the BJP in three segments — Karkala, Sringeri and Chikmagalur and the Janata Dal (Secular) won in Mudigere. The Kundapur seat was won by an Independent candidate.

The Congress has re-nominated Mr. Hegde for the seat. The BJP, after much dilly-dallying, announced the former Minister Shobha Karandlaje as its candidate.

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