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out | BJP hopes to extend winning streak as Congress tries to break saffron fortress in Dakshina Kannada

Padmaraj R Poojary of the Congress and Captain Brijesh Chowta of the BJP

Padmaraj R Poojary of the Congress and Captain Brijesh Chowta of the BJP

MANGALURU: Newcomers Captain Brijesh Chowta of the BJP and Padmaraj R Poojary of the Congress are sweating it out in the BJP stronghold Dakshina Kannada constituency. While Chowta hopes to continue the BJP’s winning streak in the constituency, Padmaraj is leaving no stone unturned to break the saffron fortress.

In conversations with The new Indian Expressboth candidates announced their plans for the district and commented on various issues.

Padmaraj R Poojary (Congress)

What’s your opinion poll?

Dakshina Kannada witnessed tremendous development when Congress MPs represented it for over four decades. Then the neighborhood was peaceful and there was a harmonious atmosphere. Our erstwhile Congress MPs brought an airport, seaport, industries like MRPL, ONGC etc. But BJP MPs from the last 33 years brought with them the tag of ‘communal sensitive’, which has become a hurdle for investments. Due to this tag, no development took place here and no industries were started. BJP is fighting the elections on only two issues: ‘Hindutva’ and Modi, and they are not talking about development.

There is potential for development in various sectors including education, startups, industries, cultural tourism, beaches, hill stations and wildlife tourism. My priority is to ensure that Mangaluru is buzzing with activity till midnight like Mumbai. Our young people must stay here after they complete their education and get a job, and we must utilize their talents.

You have made the BJP’s use of religion and Hindutva an election issue?

Yes, I am also a Hindu and my religion teaches us to respect our own religion as well as other religions. But the BJP in the name of Hindutva is ruining the lives of backward class youth who become victims of communal clashes and end up in jail or lose their lives.

You have campaigned across Dakshina Kannada. What are people’s reactions like?

The response from the people is positive and they trust us and we are hopeful that we can wrest the district from the clutches of the BJP. People are fed up with the BJP and its divide-and-rule policy of the past three decades. They say they are fighting for Hindutva, but the same BJP has ignored Satyajith Surathkal, KS Eshwarappa, CT Ravi and many OBC leaders.

Prime Minister Modi held a roadshow in Mangaluru and paid tribute to social reformer Narayana Guru? What do you make of it?

I welcome Narendra Modi’s visit to Mangaluru, but we were hopeful that he would talk about the development he has brought to our district. He paid floral tributes in the Brahmashree Narayana Guru circle, but why did he not visit Kudroli Brahmashree Narayana Guru Kshetra? They remembered Narayana Guru when Congress fielded Padmaraj, a trustee at Kudroli Gokarnanatha kshetra. It is nothing but their (BJP leaders) arrogance to say that Modi has popularized Narayana Guru all over the world through his roadshow. People all over the world knew about social reformer Narayana Guru and his principles long before the BJP was formed.

How confident are you of winning these elections?

We hope we will win by a margin of more than 70,000 votes.

Will the Billava factor play a crucial role in these elections?

I have not done politics using caste and religion. My party has given me a ticket as I am one of the Billava leaders. It is my responsibility to fulfill the aspirations of everyone, including my community. Backward class people are with me. Billavas and people from all communities will support me this time.

Captain Brijesh Chowta (BJP)

What made you decide to take this leap into electoral politics?

For someone who wants to serve this nation, electoral politics is a process of impacting people’s lives on the largest, unprecedented scale. It is also a very challenging process where you have to serve relentlessly to qualify to be their voice. Having grown up idolizing leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and George Fernandes, whose nationalism, political image and legacy have left a strong mark on my worldview, electoral politics seemed the best way to serve the people of our region.

Why should people choose Captain Brijesh Chowta? What’s your poll pitch?

Hindutva and development has been my mission – I am committed to Hindutva while development is my priority. People should elect Captain Brijesh Chowta as the representative of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose leadership over the last decade has transformed Bharat forever. And I try to emulate his actions that have transformed both Gujarat First and Bharat since 2014 to transform our beautiful region, which is an ocean of possibilities.

How do you see your transition from a military officer to active politics as a Lok Sabha candidate?

Honestly, it’s just another uniform I wear. The mission, the machinery, the method may have a different avatar, but essentially nothing has changed for me. Because both institutions, our army and the BJP, are driven by the motto of #NationFirst. And a Fauji is a Fauji forever. The role may have changed, the purpose may be the same, the uniform may have changed, the duty may be the same: the welfare of Bharat.

How are people’s reactions during campaigns?

It is very encouraging to see how eager the ordinary people are to bring Modiji back to power, with the largest mandate ever. In the remotest corners of our region, we can see how people have been touched by the various efforts that have taken place over the past decade – be it clean tap water reaching every home, or toilets or the DBT of various schemes. Modi ki Guarantee has people’s trust because it is not only based on promises but also on performance, not on dynastic sentiments but on fulfillment. Especially our #NariShakti, the women of our constituency, have taken it upon themselves to ensure that we are part of our Prime Minister Modi’s mission in 2047 and are going out to ensure that every booth is a BJP booth.

Has the denial of ticket to sitting MP Nalin Kumar Kateel hurt the sentiments of party workers?

These are stories created by vested interests. As our incumbent MP Nalin Kumar Kateel himself has said, and all of us as Karyakartas believe, our party is one where our internal democracy is equally vibrant and where senior leaders have always ensured that the youth are part of the party machinery at a very graceful and organic manner. The endless sea of ​​saffron that surfaced at my nomination meeting, where Nalin Kumar Kateel stood by me all the way and during our Prime Minister Modi’s roadshow, is the strongest response to those who try to spread such baseless rumours. For a BJP karyakarta, it was, is and always will be ‘Nation First, Party Next, Self Last’.