BANGALORE: The Congress, whose stakes are running high in the upcoming March 18 bypoll to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat, has a double agenda: ensure its victory and use it as a magic wand to turn around its party’s future. The reasons are not too far to seek; the party has been trounced in 19 out of the 21 byelections held in the state ever since the BJP formed its first government here south of the Vindhyas.
With severe infighting in the BJP, a series of corruption scandals its partymen have been involved in, not to mention the inglorious porngate episode, the Congress feels this is an opportune moment to turn the tables on the BJP.
The party had sent a four-member observer team to the constituency soon after the resignation of sitting member D V Sadananda Gowda and solicited opinions from the party cadre on fielding an appropriate candidate.
The team which was led by senior party leader H K Patil extensively toured all assembly segments of the LS seat and submitted its report to the KPCC.
The KPCC had sent a name-list to the party high command to finalise its nominee for the byelection. Party sources say the high command seems to have zeroed on Jayaprakash Hegde, who maintains a clean public image and enjoys popularity in the constituency.
Indira’s Tryst With the Lok Sabha Seat
Udupi-Chickmagalur Lok Sabha seat was once a Congress bastion, which had offered a lifeline to former prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1978 when the seat was specially vacated for her. Gandhi defeated her opponent Veerendra Patil and in two years returned as the Prime Minister.
The Congress in a bid to revamp itself had launched several programmes, including the ‘Congress Nadige Janara Balige’ and ‘Mukhamukhi with party workers’.
Added to this, it has also planned division-level rallies in Bangalore, Hassan, Gulbarga and Davanagere.