Water, power will decide winner in Temple town

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Udupi — This temple town too has to contend with water and power issues. The Baje dam built across Swarna river is the source of drinking water for residents in Udupi and surrounding areas. However, in the past two years, scarcity of water has been a major issue. Adding to the woes is power outages in a district which has the 1,200 MW UPCL thermal power plant.

Billavas form the largest voting community followed by Mogaveeras, Bunts and Muslims. However, no Billava has represented this constituency till date. BJP is facing the first assembly election without the acumen of senior politician late Dr VS Acharya. BJP leaders say that its foot soldiers are the backbone of the party.

A stronghold of the Congress till 1989, Udupi has a mixed history of political preference by voters. But since the last two terms, BJP has had its stranglehold on this constituency.

Political history of the constituency dates back to 1957, when Upendra Nayak became an MLA from Praja Socialist Party (PSP). M Madhwaraj won the 1962 election on a Congress ticket. SK Amin from Congress won the 1967 election, later Manorama Madhwaraj, wife of M Madhwaraj contested on a Congress ticket in 1972, and won. Her winning streak continued even in1978, 1985, 1989 barring 1983 when VS Acharya emerged victorious. UR Sabhapathi won the 1994 election by contesting from KCP ( Karnataka Congress Party) riding on Billava votes. He contested on a Congress ticket in the 1999 election and won. That was the end of Congress run. BJP’s Raghupathi Bhat won in the subsequent 2004 and 2008 assembly elections. Bhat withdrew his name for the polls following the CD row.

BJP has fielded former Udupi Urban Development Authority chairman B Sudhakar Shetty. Pramod Madhwaraj, the Congress candidate, is attempting for the third time after losing in Brahmavara constituency against K Jayaprakash Hegde in 2004 and against Raghupathi Bhat in Udupi in 2008.

Sudhakar Shetty says development projects taken up during the BJP rule are visible in the constituency. He says plans are on the anvil to sort out the drinking water problem by getting the third phase of the Swarna drinking water project. He added that Adi Udupi- Malpe stretch four-lane road will be realized, apart from multi-village drinking water scheme to benefit 10 villages.

Congress candidate Pramod Madhwaraj promises year-round drinking water supply if the party is voted to power.

No of voters

1,80,780 (93,320 women)

In the fray

BJP: Sudhakar Shetty

Congress: Pramod Madhwaraj

JD(S): Barkur Sathish Poojari

Key Issues

*Drinking water

*Power problems

He is a Software Engineer from Moodbidri currently living in Kuwait. He likes to travel and post interesting things about technology. He is the designer of Kannadigaworld.com. You may follow him on FB at fb.com/alanpaladka

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