MANGALURU: Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member B K Hariprasad’s ‘Narendra Modi-Imran Khan match-fixing’ statement over the recent Pulwama terror attack has come as a big shocker for the Congress workers in Dakshina Kannada district in general and his followers in particular.
Congress leaders feel that the statement which has provided the much-needed ammunition to the BJP in its efforts to brand all those who raise questions over government’s claims over the fight against terror, as ‘anti-nationals’, could not have come at a much worst time as Hariprasad is an aspirant for the party ticket from Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha seat. A Congress leader said fielding Hariprsad from a place like DK where nationalist sentiments are strong may severely hit the party not just in DK but in neighbouring constituencies too.
Hariprasad, along with former minister Vinay Kumar Sorake is a top contender for the ticket from the dominant Billava community. Though former minister Ramanath Rai, Youth leader Mithun Rai, MLC Ivan D’Souza and others have also thrown their hat into the ring, sources say the party may finally go with a Billava as a replacement to community’s tall leader Janardhan Poojary. The party also wants to make it a Billava-Bunt fight as the former is furious over latter’s domination in district politics despite being less in numbers. Sorake appears to have had suffered a jolt recently when some Muslim leaders opposed his candidature by terming him ‘anti-minority’.
This had brought Hariprasad’s name to the forefront. Given the party’s custom-made strategy for coastal region this time around, the party leaders feel that the ‘distasteful’ comment may dim his chances of getting ticket. Congress is toeing the ‘soft Hindutva’ line in the region dubbed as ‘laboratory of Hindutwa politics’ in order to wrest the seat from BJP. Another senior Congress leader from the district bdescribed Hariprasad’s jibe as a self-goal.