Udupi: The Congress win in the Udupi-Chikmagalur byelection last year and in the recent ULB poll has boosted the morale of its workers in Udupi who are confident there is a wave in support of the party once again, 18 years after it lost the constituency considered its bastion.
But giving the party cause for concern are senior Congress leaders who are keeping away from the campaigning, accusing candidate, Pramod Madhwaraj of being arrogant and failing to take them into confidence in his bid to return the seat to the Congress fold.
Madhwaraj, who is president of the Udupi Block Congress, lost the elections from the constituency in 2008. This time he has left no stone unturned to ensure he wins the poll, but seems to have messed up by ignoring senior party leaders in the process. The absence of these leaders in the campaign could affect the party’s chances of winning by a huge margin, say observers.
“Pramod should have taken all party workers and leaders with him. Instead he is acting as if he is contesting as an independent and takes all the decisions. All activity is concentrated in his office.
He is proud and his attitude has saddened a section of Congressmen which could decrease our margin of victory,” said a senior Congress leader, pointing out that even AICC general secretary, Oscar Fernandes and MP, Jayaprakash Hegde are not seen a great deal in the constituency.
“The anti- incumbency, corruption and infighting in the BJP could have helped us tremendously, but Pramod is overconfident and feels that because of his financial contribution of several years he can win even without the help of other leaders,” he rued.
The BJP is on a weak wicket here after party strongman , K Raghupathy Bhat decided not to contest in the aftermath of the recent CD controversy and the row over the rave party on St Mary’s Island in 2012.
Sudhakar Shetty, who has been fielded by the BJP is not a familiar figure among Sangh outfits and so many of their leaders have stayed away from campaigning for him. But the BJP is hoping Shetty will corner the Bunt votes as he belongs to the community.