Mangaluru: A silent demand is growing in two bastions of the BJP on the coast against giving its MPs, who had won the 2014 poll with over one lakh votes, a shot at another term in parliament these Lok Sabha elections. The saffron party had swept coastal Karnataka in 2014 with Ms Shobha Karandlaje winning with a margin of 1,81,643 votes in Udupi-Chikkamagalur and Mr Nalin Kumar Kateel, by a margin of 1,43,709 votes in Dakshina Kannada.
Although the Assembly elections of 2018 showed no dent in the party’s support, there is strong opposition among local BJP workers to fielding both MPs once again. “Shobha Karandlaje is hardly seen in the constituency as she is more active in the state politics. Her contribution to the party and constituency is hardly visible. This has annoyed the party workers and also voters,” says a senior BJP leader. Some have already started a “Go Back Shobha” movement, which is reportedly backed by a group within the party which is unhappy with her. Meanwhile, although Mr Kateel has been more active and involved in various local protests, several former elected representatives of Dakshina Kannada and Sangh Parivar leaders are reportedly against him.
“They do not want to say anything in public, but they want Backward Class Morcha leader, Sathyajit Surathkal to contest from the constituency,” says a BJP leader. Mr Surathkal, who had hoisted the national flag at Hubballi idgah maidan with controversial leader, Anantkumar Hegde, was keen on a ticket from Mangaluru City North, but as he was denied it, his supporters now want him to contest the Lok Sabha poll. They have erected flex banners in support of him in various places and at roadsides and begun a Twitter campaign, ‘satyajith for DK,’ addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president, Amit Shah in the hope that it will pay off.