Mangaluru: The Congress does not seem to be fighting fit to win in the coastal districts, where the BJP has a considerable following, For the first time in four decades, Congress giants, B Janardhan Poojary, Oscar Fernandes and M Veerappa Moily are missing in action during the campaigning here.
Although Mr Poojary and Mr Fernandes are said to be ailing, party sources say their sidelining by the local elected representatives and leaders has also left them saddened. Mr Moily, who was active in campaigning in Karkala and nearby regions, is not able to join in this time because he is reportedly not popular with party workers at the moment for allegedly playing a role in Mr Muniyal Uday Kumar Shetty being denied a Congress ticket.
"Over the last five years the government and the local elected representatives have completely ignored Poojary and Oscar. They have almost become silent because of this and now have health problems as well. So they are keeping away from active campaigning," said a senior Congress leader.
During the last assembly elections, however, Mr Poojary had campaigned hard in Dakshina Kannada and Mr Fernandes in Udupi , where they enjoy considerable influence.
Leaders agree their absence could adversely affect the Congress and damage its prospects on the coast. "Poojary and Oscar are experienced leaders, who planned strategy and chalked out plans to win the elections. They would not just campaign, but also make the necessary financial arrangements. In their absence there is no 'district leader.' This is really a bad development," said one Congress leader.
When contacted, KPCC general secretary, PV Mohan agreed that the absence of Mr Poojary and Mr Fernandes was being felt these polls, but said the party’s MLAs in seven constituencies of the region were campaigning based on their achievements. Also, the party was expected to send AICC general secretary, BK Hariprasad shortly to campaign in the area, he added....