Who will get Congress ticket in Uttara Kannada is the big question

Anant Kumar Hegde

Anant Kumar Hegde

Ahead of the general elections, the matter on debate in political circles of the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha constituency is who will manage to get Congress ticket rather than who will win the election.

The constituency is represented by Anant Kumar Hegde of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He defeated Margaret Alva of the Congress by a margin of 22,769 votes in the 2009 election.

The results of the 2013 Assembly elections were an image booster for the Congress. Of the eight Assembly segments in the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress won in four (Haliyal, Kumta, Yellapur and Kittur) and the BJP won in one (Sirsi). While the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti won in Khanapur, Independents won in Karwar and Bhatkal.

But instead of chalking out a strategy to win the general elections by taking advantage of the favourable conditions, the Congress is struggling hard to handle factionalism and select a consensus candidate in the constituency. On one side, Minister for Higher Education R.V. Deshpande and Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva are lobbying hard to get ticket for their sons — Prashant Deshpande and Nivedit Alva respectively — on the other, senior Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad has also emerged a strong contender for the party ticket.

Tug of war

Mr. R.V. Deshpande and Ms. Alva, who enjoy considerable clout in the region, are head-butting each other for ticket for their sons. Both of them have found this occasion as ideal to promote their sons in politics. The tug of war between the two has left the Congress a divided house.

In fact, both these ‘aristocratic’ sons have been nurturing the dream of entering politics taking benefit of their parent’s clout. Mr. Prashant Deshpande and Mr. Alva have been making efforts to popularise themselves with an eye on the Lok Sabha seat. Both have established trusts in their respective family names and taken up social service activities. Both of them, however, are yet to muster enough strength to counter the BJP strongman, Mr. Hegde.

Congress has recommended the names of Mr. Prashant Deshpande, Mr. Alva, Mr. Hariprasad and Bheemanna Naik. Going by the caste considerations, Mr. Prashant Deshpande is a Goud Saraswat Brahmin, Mr. Alva is a Konkani Christian, and Mr. Hariprasad and Mr. Naik are Idigas, the majority community in the constituency. But it is the party factor coupled with personal clout that played a role in the elections all these years here. Whether the Congress considers seniority, caste factor, winning ability or dynastic background while issuing ticket, remains to be seen. But it is certain that Mr. R.V. Deshpande and Ms. Alva will make all efforts to promote their progeny this time.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 9:55:53 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/who-will-get-congress-ticket-in-uttara-kannada-is-the-big-question/article5740826.ece