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In BJP bastion, Congress makes inroads

April 29, 2009

Vicky Nanjappa and photographer Reuben N V travel to Mangalore, a BJP bastion, which has been in the news recently for attacks on churches and women in pubs. The Hindutva brigade's experiments may not pay electoral dividends, they discover.

The battle for the Dakshina Kannada constituency, previously known as the Mangalore constituency, is an interesting one.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party is looking to defend this seat for the fifth consecutive time, the Congress is hopeful of a triumph.

Ask voters in this coastal city and political leaders (barring the BJP ones, of course), and they will tell you that the Congress has a clear chance of an upset.

BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel, a Sangh Parivar activist and back-room manager, was a surprise choice. Kateel is not well-known and that is expected to hurt the BJP. On the other hand, veteran Congress candidate B Janardhan Poojary is famous in these parts and has a reputation for being a short tempered and honest politician.

Voters seem inclined to give the 70-year-old Poojary, who last won Mangalore in 1991, a chance to win what could be his last election.

Image: Muslim women participate in a BJP rally in Mangalore.

Also see: 'We will get the allies' | India Votes 2009