ANI Photo | Bigwigs from Congress, BJP battle it out in Karnataka’s Udupi Chikmagalur LS constituency

Udupi Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency goes to the polls on 26 April in the second phase of the 2024 general election. The constituency is poised to witness a bipolar contest between Kota Srinivas Poojary of the BJP and K Jayaprakash Hegde of the Congress.
Two of them are political heavyweights enjoying considerable grassroots support in the area.
Udupi Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency came into existence after the delimitation exercise in 2008. Since 2009, when the first election in the constituency was held, the BJP won three times and the Congress won once in the 2012 by-election.
BJP’s upper hand in this constituency seemed to have been fortified with the joining of the JDU, whose candidate from this constituency came second in the 2019 election, in the NDA alliance led by the BJP.
However, Jayaprakash Hegde is a strong contender and in his campaign, he highlighted his works as Minister and as MP from 2002 to 2004.
Hegde played a major role as Minister in the carving out of Udupi district from Dakshina Kannada in 1997. During the campaign, he highlighted this as one of his major achievements. Udupi’s four Assembly segments are part of this constituency.
Poojary, who was an MLC from the local bodies in the constituency and is a former minister, is familiar among the people. Besides having highlighted his achievements as a former minister and MLC, he also sought votes to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Poojary’s high-octane campaign included PM Modi’s roadshow in Mangaluru, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s public meeting in Mudigere, and Tamil Nadu State BJP president K Annamalai’s meetings.
On the other hand, though the Congress had directed district in-charge ministers to extensively campaign for Hegde, the Udupi in-charge Laxmi Hebbalkar’s absence in the campaign was conspicuous. Hebbalkar was busy campaigning for her son Mrinal Hebbalkar from the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency.
The constituency comprises eight Assembly segments – Kundapura, Udupi, Kaup, Karkala, Sringeri, Mudigere (SC), Chikmagalur, and Tarikere. Currently, four of these Assembly segments are held by the Congress and the other four are held by the BJP.
In the 2019 general election, BJP’s Shobha Karandlaje won the constituency garnering 7,18,916 votes. She defeated JDS’s Pramod Madhwaraj who got 3,69,317 votes.
In the 2014 election, Karandlaje defeated Hegde by a margin of 1,81,000 votes. In that election, she got 5,81,168 votes, while Jayaprakash received 3,99,525 votes.
However, Congress leaders say that there is no Modi wave in this election in the state and exude confidence in wresting the seat from the BJP.
The result of the constituency will be known on June 4 when votes polled in the general election are counted

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