The seat-sharing agreement between the coalition partners has put an end, at least temporarily, to the special connection the Congress had with Udupi–Chikkamagaluru constituency. The party, which once fielded the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from here, has now given it up to its partner the Janata Dal (Secular).
The decision has upset Congress workers in the district and they have appealed to the party leadership to review the decision. Indira Gandhi, after suffering a defeat in the post-Emergency election, contested in a byelection to the Lok Sabha from Chikkamagaluru in 1978 and won. Then Lok Sabha member D.B. Chandre Gowda had resigned to allow Indira Gandhi to contest. She won against Veerendra Patil and entered the Lok Sabha, and this has been considered her rebirth in politics.
“How can we give up the seat which was once held by Indira Gandhi?” asked the former Minister Motamma. She had campaigned for Indira Gandhi during her election. She told The Hindu that workers had not anticipated this. “Otherwise, we would have definitely camped in Delhi and brought pressure to retain the seat with the Congress,” she said.
The party’s district unit convened an emergency meeting in Chikkamagaluru on Thursday and adopted a resolution to put pressure on the party leadership to retain the seat.
D.L. Vijay Kumar, party’s district president told The Hindu that copies of the resolution had been sent to all top leaders of the party, including Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP has been winning the seat since 1998, except in a byelection in 2011 when Jayaprakash Hegde, who contested on the Congress ticket then, won. Among the eight Assembly segments in the constituency, seven have been won by the BJP. The Congress has won the Sringeri seat.