Karwar: Congress leaders are not happy with JD(S) leader Anand Asnotikar's name doing the rounds to contest from the Uttara Kannada constituency against Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde.
Mr Asnotikar, who was with the Congress in the 2008 elections, had later joined the BJP and won the by-election only to be defeated in the 2013 election. In the 2018 assembly election, he switched over to JD(S) but lost to BJP. With the Congress-JD(S) coalition deciding to field a JD(S) candidate from Uttara Kannada constituency, Mr Asnotikar is said to be the frontrunner.
But his likely candidature has not made Congress leaders happy, as they feel that Mr Ansotikar is not a strong candidate to fight the BJP wave in the region.
"JD(S) has no strong base in Uttara Kannada, except in Karwar, Haliyal and Kumta. In those constituencies, too, the candidates have won due to their popularity. Asnotikar lost the last assembly election despite carrying out a vigorous campaign. Giving the seat to JD(S) and making Asnotikar a candidate may not be a good move," a senior leader closely associated with Congress office-bearers told Deccan Chronicle.
"BJP is strong here and also at Maratha-majority Khanapur and Kittur taluks of Belagavi, which come under the Uttara Kannada constituency. Though people are unhappy with Ananth Kumar Hegde, it is difficult to turn those votes against him as there is no strong candidate from our coalition," he said.
Workers feel that Congress could have fielded MLC Lakshman Srikanath Ghotnekar, who could use the Maratha card and has a good relationship within APMC. The JD(S) should have considered Shashibhushan Hegde, who had contested from Sirsi....