Problems galore in Moodbidre where Amarnath Shetty is contesting for 10th consecutive time and Jain for 4th time.
Moodbidre, popularly called as Jaina Kashi of South India, is also an educational hub. With engineering colleges, Ayurveda college, and other first grade colleges offering various courses, the students from across the country come here for education.
This is the only Assembly constituency in Dakshina Kannada district, where the BJP has never opened its account. Even when the Hindutva wave was strong in the coastal belt during 2008 elections, the BJP could not win from this constituency.
However, the BJP had managed to secure the second position for the first time in the last Assembly election pushing the JD(S) to the third position.
The BJP had initially fielded its candidate in this constituency in 1989. During the 1999 elections, it supported the candidature of former minister K Amarnath Shetty, who contested as a Janata Dal candidate. In 1989, 1994 and in 2004 elections, the BJP had to be content with the third place.
It was in 2008, the BJP candidate K P Jagadeesh Adhikari bagged 34,841 votes against 26,083 votes secured by Amarnath Shetty from the JD(S). K Abhayachandra Jain of the Congress, who was re-elected for the third term, secured 44,744 votes.
The Congress has won the election from this constituency six times in the past.
Till 2008, there was always direct fight between the Congress and the Janata Parivar in the constituency. In fact, Amarnath Shetty is contesting from the constituency for the 10th time since 1972.
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. Apart from winning thrice in the Assembly elections, Jain had served as a MLC for two terms.
This time’s BJP candidate represents Billava community. But this is not for the first time that the BJP is fielding a Billava candidate. It had fielded M S Kotian, a Billava, in 1994 and in 2004.
As a piligrimage centre, the constituency has seen a rapid increase in traffic on the National Highway 13, which passes through the town.
With the plying of heavy vehicles on NH 13, many have raised apprehensions over the safety of the monuments that are situated adjacent to the highway.
A proposal to construct a bypass by the National Highways Authority of India has not been implemented so far even though adequate land is available for the purpose and marking has also been completed. Bypass to reduce the traffic congestion is one of the long pending demands of the people of the region.
Though Moodbidre-Mulki is fast developing, the need for UGD has been realised now. At the same time, Moodbidre does not have a full-fledged market. The existing markets are in deplorable condition.
Though water is being supplied through Pucchemogaru drinking water project, to Moodbidre TMC limits, with the increase in population, the TMC limits has already started facing shortage of water since one year.
Though the work on Maravoor drinking water project and Kinnigoli multi village drinking water projects have been initiated, around 20 villages will be benefited only after its completion, feel residents.
The State government had announced taluk status to Moodbidre in February. With the new government coming to power in the State after the elections, the people of Moodbidre are expecting better facilities for the taluk.
Sitting MLA Abhayachandra Jain said “the development work carried out during my tenure will have a positive impact on the voters. The voters know me well and are aware of the work initiated by me.”
On the other hand, Umanath Kotian said, “the achievement of the BJP-led State government in the last five years will be a blessing for me.
At the same time, the sitting MLA during his five past terms has not initiated major development work. The demand for bypass road, full-fledged markets are still not fulfilled. As a candidate, I speak to voters on how we can develop Moodbidri constituency as a model constituency.”
“As the president of Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, I had initiated several programme to promote Tulu. The voters have started identifying me. The work initiated under Tulu Academy will also help my victory.”
SDPI district president Abbobakkar Kulai in one of the press meets in Moodbidri had said “the row over ration card continues to haunt the constituency. At the same time, there is shortage of drinking water.”