Mangaluru: Congress which has been facing continuous defeat in Lok Sabha elections since 1991 changed its strategy with the aim to win the constituency by pitting in a new face and depending on soft-Hindutva technique which, however in reality, failed miserably.
Congress set aside its earlier calculations and selected District Youth Congress President Mithun Rai as its candidate for the election. Accordingly, it devised a plan to introduce a new face and a youth candidate into the constituency with the aim to defeat BJP. B Janardhan Poojary has contested 9 times from the constituency from 1977 to 1998 and 2009 and 2014, and M Veerappa Moily has contested twice in 1999 and 2004 representing Congress.
Then, Poojary won 4 times and lost 5 times while Moily lost both the times. Keeping all the earlier calculations in mind, several senior Congress aspirants including former minister Ramanath Rai, senior leader B K Hariprasad names were almost finalized for this election. But, considering the failure of the senior leaders in the constituency at the last minute, the ticket was given to a new face Mithun Rai (34) through whose selection the party betted on attracting the youth voters. But this expectation of Congress too went down the drain.
Love towards soft-hindutva
In comparison to previous elections, Congress used a different technique in its campaigning this time. Congress which always remained away from saffron shawls all of a sudden took an affinity towards it and attempted to play BJP’s Hindutva trump card to its benefit.
Congress candidate Mithun Rai and his supporters campaigned wearing saffron shawls. In response to the temple run of the BJP candidate, Congress candidate too indulged in his own temple run. Besides, it also became a point do discussion during the election. But this change in technique by Congress failed to attract any many number of voters and consequently lost the election.
Along with this, Congress provided ample examples during its campaigning, depicting the failure of Nalin to carry out development works effectively as an MP. They highlighted delay in Pumpwell – Thokkottu flyover work and the setback in BC Road-Addahole road work. However, it has become clear that the failures highlighted have not had much of an effect on the voters.