Moodbidri Legislative Constituency Ticket
Will Ramanatha Rai's attitude further alienate Billawas from Congress ?
Mangaluru: Though the task of finalising the list of Congress candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections is in the final stages, selecting a candidate for the Moodbidri constituency which has aroused a lot of curiosity of late, has turned out to be a big challenge for the party.
Ever since the sitting MLA and former minister K Abhayachandra Jain stated that he would not contest, many have been in the race for a ticket from this constituency. Party sources reveal that DK District in-charge Minister B Ramanatha Rai has evinced great interest in getting a ticket for District Youth Congress President Mithun Rai who too is one of the aspirants.
Rai who had fully backed Mithun Rai even during the Youth Congress internal polls, is now reportedly mounting pressure on the High Command to grant a ticket to Mithun from Mulki-Moodbidri constituency. But local Congress leaders and workers are of the strong view that a ticket to Mithun Rai would mean more trouble than benefit for the party in the district.
Billawas who happen to be the single largest community in the district population wise , are presently not happy with the Congress party. There is also the allegation that the party was neglecting senior Billawa leaders. Moreover, among the sitting Congress MLAs from Dakshina Kannada only Vasanth Bangera from Belthangady is a Billawa leader.
Vinaykumar Sorake, the MLA of Kaup who was the only Billawa minister from undivided DK has also lost his cabinet berth.
Billawas as of now are demanding at least three Assembly tickets from the district. Given the present scenario, a ticket to a Bunt candidate in Moodbidri would mean a chance for three Bunt candidates in the district including Bantwal and Puttur. Many in the party feel this would prove detrimental to the party.
The Congress which boasts about social justice should rightfully grant a ticket for Billawas to contest from Moodbidri if Abhayachandra Jain does not contest. Congress would benefit from such a move if political calculations go right. Prior to Abhayachandra, Billawa leader Somappa Suvarna had represented Moodbidri constituency which has around 62,000 Billawa voters. There are several experienced Billawa leaders too. Given this situation, party workers are questioning why Ramanatha Rai still wants a ticket for an inexperienced Mithun.
Congress leaders here have been time and again stating that the Billawas had tilted towards the BJP and that the Billawa youth were falling prey to the conspiracy of Sangh Parivar. If that is not suffice, the Congress leaders are now letting go a golden opportunity to draw Billawas towards the party. Though it is inevitable for the Congress to grant at least two tickets to Billawas if it goes by social justice, still the District in-charge Minister and senior Congress leaders fail to understand this fact, allege Billawa leaders. But none of them have the courage to state so in the open.
"Congress may have to pay a heavy price in Udupi too"
"Mithun Rai still has a long way to go in politics. He would get ample opportunities in the future. Despite being elected District Youth Congress President for two terms, his role in strengthening the organisation is limited. He has not put in any great effort to woo youngsters towards the party despite it being in power in the state. He is facing the accusation of pursuing a soft Hindutva stance keeping an eye on polls. Therefore a ticket granted to Bunt candidate like Mithun in a constituency where a Billawa candidate should rightly get a chance would affect the party not only in Dakshina Kannada but also in the neighbouring Udupi district," feel local party leaders and workers.
Allegation of injustice by Rai during Mayoral polls too
Minister Ramanatha Rai is facing the allegation of electing a person of his choice as Mayor by sidelining the policy of social justice in Mangaluru. There is much resentment over this both within and outside the party.
"Social justice must prevail"
The Billawa population is in majority in four constituencies of DK district. if the national parties abide by the principle of social justice and grant tickets in accordance for population, then Billawas will have to get tickets from at least 2 to 3 constituencies. All major parties have done injustice to Billawas during ticket allotment. We have been submitting memoranda to the authorities concerned but there has been no positive response. In this backdrop efforts would be made to create awareness among Billawas."
-Naveenchandra D. Suvarna, President, Akhila Bharatha Billawara Union
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