Left in the dust by Congress-BJP battle in Mangaluru City South

9:29 AM, Monday, April 16th, 2018

j-r-loboMangaluru: About six decades ago, the political fight in Mangaluru City South Assembly constituency (the erstwhile Mangalore I) was between the Congress and the left-wing Communist Party of India (CPI). Today, the battle is between the Congress and the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The CPI was the runner-up in the 1957 and 1962 elections in this constituency. A. Shantharama Pai of the party had faced the Congress candidate in those two elections. The CPI could not take on the Congress in subsequent elections. An Independent, A.R. Ahmed, emerged second in the 1967 elections.

The entry of the now BJP (and erstwhile BJS — Bharatiya Jana Sangha) in this constituency and in some other Assembly constituencies of the then undivided Dakshina Kannada as well began in 1972 when C.G. Kamath of the BJS stood second in Mangalore I. BJS emerged runner-up in Sullia, Puttur, Bantwal and Udupi Assembly constituencies in the same elections.

In 1978, it was the then Janata Party (Sharada Achar) which fought against the Congress and came second.

The BJP opened its account in 1983 with V. Dhananjaya Kumar winning against R.F. Rodrigues of the Congress. Mr. Kumar, whom the BJP elevated to contest in the Parliamentary elections, remained an MP from the saffron party for four terms from the erstwhile Mangalore Parliamentary constituency from the 1991 general elections. Later, he quit the BJP.

It was again the Janata Party (Judith Mascarenhas) which fought against the Congress in the 1985 election, ultimately coming second.

But in the past six elections here, the Congress and the BJP have been in a straight fight. N. Yogish Bhat of the BJP, who defeated the Congress candidate in four consecutive elections from 1994 to 2008, began with a taste of defeat his first fight against the Congress (in 1989). That year, he lost to Blasius M. D’Souza. Mr. Bhat, who contested for the sixth consecutive term in 2013, lost to J.R. Lobo of the Congress. Mr. Lobo was a former Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) official.

The constituency, which is the heart of Mangaluru, has 38 of the total 60 wards (63%) coming under Mangaluru City Corporation. It accounts for 63% of the wards.

Sunil Kumar Bajal, secretary of the CPI(M)’s Mangaluru City South unit, will contest from the constituency.

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