The Modi wave, handing over of the Udupi-Chikkamagaluru seat to the Janata Dal (Secular) and the systematic campaigning by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are among the factors which helped the BJP register a whopping victory in the Udupi-Chikkamagaluru parliamentary seat.
Shobha Karandlaje of the BJP defeated Pramod Madhwaraj of the Janata Dal(S) by a margin of 3.49 lakh votes in the constituency. This is the highest margin recorded in the constituency after it came to being consequent to the Delimitation exercise in 2008.
The Congress is a dominant force in Udupi-Chikkamagaluru parliamentary seat compared to the Janata Dal(S). In fact, the Janata Dal(S) has little presence in Udupi district.
The handing over of the seat to the Janata Dal(S) made the job easy for the BJP. There was discontent among some Congress leaders and workers about the party giving up the seat to the Janata Dal(S). One of them, P. Amrith Shenoy, contested as an independent candidate and got suspended from the party.
“The handing over of the parliamentary seat did not go down well with at least some sections of the Congress voters who voted for the BJP instead of voting for the Janata Dal(S),” said Kokkarne Surendranath Shetty, Head, Department of Political Science, MGM College, Udupi, told The Hindu .
According to Prof. Shetty, the BJP has a dominating presence on the social media. “The youth are hooked on to the social media and the BJP is good at conveying its message to them. The Balakot air strike propelled floating voters towards the BJP,” he said.
Though the Congress and the Janata Dal(S) worked together for Mr. Madhwaraj, the BJP has a well-oiled party machinery in the constituency. Since it was clear that Ms. Karandlaje would be re-nominated as its candidate, the BJP began its campaign early giving it a head start.
The popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained steady in the coastal districts. “Of course, given the Modi wave, we might not have won the Udupi-Chikkamagaluru seat, but at least the Congress could have given a tougher fight to the BJP than the Janata Dal(S),” said M.A. Gafoor, KPCC secretary.
“The desire of the people to see Mr. Modi as Prime Minister once again, the Hindutva factor and development works taken up by Ms. Karandlaje are responsible for our victory in Udupi-Chikkamagaluru seat,” said Tingale Vikramarjuna Hegde, State BJP secretary.