Who’ll be the Lok Sabha candidates from Uttara Kannada district (UKD) for 2024?
By Manjunath K. Shresthi
September 26, 2023
The general elections due the next year and regional, national and individual based political parties all trying to win the maximum number of seats for their respective parties. The BJP has PM Modi as its election mascot, and will try to encash his popularity to win convincingly and make it a hat trick for the BJP under his guidance and leadership. The INDIA alliance is also going places, and the many political parties under it are trying to unseat the BJP led NDA enjoying power since 2014.
Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha (LS) candidates, and the southern state trusted BJP by electing 25 of them in the 2019 elections. But the Congress party made a comeback in May 2023 assembly elections and won 135 of the total 224 assembly seats. The Congress party’s five guarantees helped it win the state. Siddaramaiah became the Chief Minister again for the second time in May 2023. So the Congress party too has set its sights on winning the maximum number of LS seats, and its leaders take turns in saying, ”that the party will win 20+ seats in the state”.
Uttara Kannada (UK) district (a.k.a Karwar) has been BJP’s safe house since 1996 when it sent its candidate to the Lok Sabha. Since then, Anantkumar Hegde, the current LS MP from UK district has been re-elected the maximum number of times. In 1999, the Congress wrested the seat, and the BJP regained the seat in 2004, and has been with it ever since. Sirsi based AK Hegde, LS MP is popular, a fiery orator and hence re-elected for six times. Kittur-Khanapur in neighbouring Belagavi district, with its borders touching UK district, also votes in the parliamentary seat. Is the geographically large UK district parliamentary seat, also a part of the Congresses strategy to win 20+ LS seats? And if yes, who’ll be given the seat to fight against the BJP candidate?
The seats to the LS polls haven’t been announced by any of the political parties in the state. The BJP already has a pre-poll alliance with the JD(S) for the upcoming LS elections. The Congress party won four of the six assembly seats in the district. There are officially two BJP MLAs in UK district from Kumta and Yellapur respectively. But the sitting Yellapur BJP MLA (formerly with the Congress till 2019) was planning a ghar wapsi to the ruling Congress party. But currently nothing is known about his political inclinations, and whether he has shelved his plans to leave BJP and join the Congress party?
The BJP at least has clarity with the candidates in the fray vying for the Lok Sabha seat from the UK district. But the same does not hold good for the Congress party; and the million dollar question is, can the party work wonders and succeed in winning the seat? And if the rumours doing the rounds in political circles are to be believed, here are some of the contenders for the UK district seat in the BJP. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi representing Hubli-Dharwad constituency, and known to be close to MoSha (PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah) is planning to contest from UK district, as it’s known to be a safe seat for the BJP. Another BJP candidate Mrs. Roopali S. Naik, former one-time BJP MLA between (2018-23) from Karwar-Ankola constituency, who recently lost the assembly seat in May 2023, by a slender margin is also trying for the Lok Sabha seat. And if no clarity or consensus on the choice of the candidate for the BJP in UK district seat, will ‘There is No Alternative (TINA) factor’ set in and work magic for Anantkumar Hegde again?