If there is an Assembly constituency in Dakshina Kannada where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has never won, it is Moodbidri.
The party was elevated to the second position for the first time in the last Assembly election pushing the Janata Dal (Secular) to the third position.
The BJP first fielded its candidate in this constituency in 1989, and has since fielded its candidates in three of the four elections. During the 1999 elections, it supported the candidature of the former minister K. Amarnath Shetty, who contested as a Janata Dal (United) candidate. In 1989, 1994 and in 2004 elections, the BJP came third.
It rose to the second position in the 2008 election as its candidate K.P. Jagadeesh Adhikari bagged 34,841 votes against 26,083 votes secured by Mr. Shetty, who contested on Janata Dal (Secular) ticket. K. Abhayachandra Jain of the Congress, who was re-elected for the third term, secured 44,744 votes.
This time the BJP has fielded Umanath A. Kotian, president of Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, to take on Mr. Shetty and Mr. Jain. Mr. Kotian represents Billava community. But this is not for the first time the BJP fielded a Billava candidate. It had fielded M.S. Kotian, a Billava, in 1994 and in 2004.
Except in the last Assembly election it was always a fight between the Congress and Janata parivar — all represented by Mr. Shetty, who is contesting from the constituency for the 10th time since 1972. He won thrice — as the Janata Party candidate in 1983 and 1985 and the then as Janata Dal candidate in 1994. But he lost the elections in 1978, 1989, 1999, 2004 and 2008.
Mr. Shetty first contested the election in 1972 as the Congress (O) candidate and lost. Mr. Shetty was the Minister for Tourism and Endowment in the Ramakrishna Hegde’s government, Minister for Fisheries, Youth Affairs and Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees in S.R. Bommai’s government and Labour Minister in J.H. Patel’s cabinet.
The three-time MLA Mr. Jain has not lost an election yet.