KARNATAKA

Cross-voting complicates things in Uttara Kannada LS constituency

Correspondent

BJP leaders openly canvass for Congress; Congress leaders return the ‘favour’



Dissidents accuse Anant Kumar Hegde of playing Brahmin card

Anti-Margaret Alva lobbies work overtime to ensure her defeat



Karwar: Cross-voting by leaders and their supporters belonging to the BJP and the Congress has complicated things in the coastal taluks of Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha Constituency.

Many of the BJP leaders, including office-bearers, who are unhappy with the candidature of Anant Kumar Hegde, were seen openly canvassing for Congress leader Margaret Alva.

Contrary to this, many Congress leaders, including a public representative, was seen canvassing for the BJP.

These scenes were common in Kumta, Honnavar and Bhatkal.

The BJP leaders have a grouse against Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde because he allegedly “engineered” the defeat of former Minister Shivanand Naik at Bhatkal and Shashibhushan Hegde at Kumta during the last Assembly election.

The dissident leaders accuse Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde of playing the Brahmin card at that time. Now, the other group is trying to return the favour by playing the backward class card in the coastal taluks.

For the last three days messages were sent on mobile phones asking a particular community not to vote for Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde accusing him of being anti-backward class.

Pamphlets were circulated in the constituency raking up the murder of the BJP leader and former MLA late Chittaranjan.

Photocopies of an interview by Chittaranjan’s father published in a Kannada tabloid in which he reportedly held Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde responsible for the death of his son were widely circulated in the constituency.

Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde had to clarify his stand by giving his version in the form of an advertisement in local newspapers. The same was the story in the Congress camp. Anti-Margaret Alva lobbies in the Congress worked overtime to defeat her by shifting the votes to the BJP.

In places such as Karwar, where the Congress was expecting to take a lead over the BJP, the situation was changed overnight by BJP activists and Congress dissidents by playing the Hindutva card.

A “whisper campaign” by the BJP, which was on the back foot in the face of the popularity of Ms. Alva, not to vote a Christian candidate, had worked on the minds of the voters, according to a Congress leader from Karwar.

The BJP and the Congress dissidents successfully played the Hindutva card to change the voting pattern, he lamented.

Janata Dal(S) tables were seen only near three booths and the party workers were conspicuous by their absence. In Karwar city, it was the same story as in the other coastal taluks of the district.

Still, every candidate is hoping against hope that he will win the elections by a narrow margin.

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