UDUPI: The forthcoming elections to newly carved Kaup town municipality could be the toughest test yet for urban development minister Vinay Kumar Sorake in view of dissidence within the party, growing discontent among local people and speculation that he could be axed during a reshuffle of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s cabinet.
Some local Congress leaders said the outcome of the election could make or mar the minister’s career. Mr Sorake, the in-charge minister of Udupi district, was instrumental in formation of Kaup town municipality by including three Gram Panchayats.
“Local Congress leaders and workers are unhappy with Mr Sorake as he has failed to maintain a close relationship with them. The party has been trounced in the district not only during Lok Sabha polls last year, but also during the recent zilla and taluk panchayat elections.
Besides, he has failed to strengthen the party in his home constituency of Kaup. Therefore, the chorus for dropping Mr Sorake from the cabinet is growing among party men,” a senior leader told Deccan Chronicle.
To add to Mr Sorake’s woes, people of his constituency are unhappy with his decision to carve Kaup town municipality by merging three Gram Panchayats because they are likely to cough up higher taxes while giving up certain facilities meant only for rural areas.
They suspect that the town municipality was formed only to help some real estate firms and construction companies rather than the common man. “A majority of the voters here are Muslims, but we are not confident of their support as the BJP too has fielded Muslims. SDPI, which is seen as the party of Muslims, is too contesting this election.
A new party called Muslim Welfare Party too has fielded its candidates thereby increasing the possibility of split in Muslim votes. And some of our party leaders who are unhappy with him could work against our party candidates only to embarrass him,” remarked another Congress leader.
Sources in the party said “Udupi MLA Pramod Madhwaraj is one among 'like-minded leaders' identified with the Chief Minister’s camp. He belongs to fishermen community which is numerically significant along the coastal belt.
He is a strong contender for a berth in the cabinet. The other contender who could displace Mr Sorake is Byndoor MLA Gopal Poojary, who is also from Billava Community, to which the minister belongs,” he added....