MANJESHWARAM: The BJP is making a determined bid to capture Manjeshwaram this time though lotus has failed to bloom here despite the presence of a considerable number of BJP leaders and cadre.
The BJP national leadership has considered this northernmost constituency as its gateway to the state for over three decades and the party has made the fight here triangular since 1982. It came in the second position repeatedly since 1977, but a victory still remains a dream.
BJP candidate K. Surendran, who hails from Kozhikode, had made Kasargod his home many years ago and learnt Tulu and Kannada to win over the local people. But he is still considered as an outsider. In the previous election, Mr P.B. Abdul Rasaq’s (IUML) had defeated him by a margin of 5,828 votes.
The best-ever performance put up by the BJP in Manjeshwaram was in 1991 when veteran K.G. Marar lost to IUML’s Cherkalam Abdulla by 1,072 votes. Others like Mr P.K. Krishnadas and Mr C.K.P. Padmanabhan too have tried in vain to wrest Manjeshwaram.
“Several factors have been attributed to this. Cross-voting by the CPM for the UDF candidate is a major reason,” pointed out Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) MP, Nalin Kumar Kateel. Kasargod has been assigned to him by the RSS Mangalore leadership.
A BJP leader on condition of anonymity said, “the internal bickering in the district BJP is the main issue. It has more votes in Tulu heartland. But Tulu people and local leaders want a candidate from their region. They cannot accept Mr Surendran, who is an outsider,” he said. The cross-voting by the CPM was also a factor, he added.
The CPM usually comes in the third position, but in 2006, Mr C.H. Kunjambu of the party won by 4,829 votes. Two grama panchayats, Enmakaje and Paivalike are being ruled by the BJP....