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DK: Modi factor may save Nalin, Hindutva test for Mithun

Press Trust of India  |  Mangaluru 

It is the factor all the way in Lok Sabha constituency that is widely expected to tilt the scales in favour of sitting Nalin despite anti-incumbency.

Discontent is simmering among even voters of the extreme right for Kateel's alleged non-performance during the last two terms.

However, there is no palpable excitement either in the opposite camp which has fielded a young candidate in Mithun Rai, belonging to the same Bunt community as Nalins and who toes a soft Hindutva line in his campaign.

The reason is simple.

The general mood across the coastal segment is that the factor will come to Nalins rescue once again in the BJPs chosen in the south.

Exemplifying the voter mood was the unprecedented massive response to during his campaign here Saturday that saw the entire 15-km stretch from the to the public meeting venue overflowing with delirious supporters.

Taking note of people perched on treetops to listen to him, Modi was even worried about their safety.

"I will be hurt if anything happens to you," a concerned Modi told them.

While on his return to the airport too, thousands of people lined up the streets, forcing slow movement of the convoy. Modi, on his part, did not disappoint them as he stood in his vehicle and greeted them.

In the constituency sharply divided on communal lines, had been able to keep it as their fortress till 1991.

But ever since the emergence of BJP as a national player and "protector of Hindutva", it managed to snatch the seat from in 1991 and since then never had to look back.

We all know that has done very little for the constituency during the last two terms. But Hindus will forget their disenchantment with him as they want Modi back as Prime Minister, who they think, is the man to protect the nation, its traditions and ideals, said K Ramesh, an from Sullia.

BJP has succeeded in projecting national security as the key issue in the elections in

A good number of people, especially from the business community, are enamoured by the Prime Minister's leadership image, the trump card of BJP.

The common people and the lower middle class, though hit hard by demonetisation and GST, are also often swayed by communal emotions stirred up by the strong right wing outfits here.

We will vote against BJP mainly because the is good for nothing. But we are not sure about our Hindu friends as they can be easily influenced, says T K Ashraf, an

Besides the RSS, right wing outfits like Hindu Jagarana Vedike and Sri have a strong presence here.

The activists of such groups often resort to moral policing and self-styled fight for cow protection, fanning communal tensions.

The RSS leaders, who had earlier dropped hints that the incompetent was no longer acceptable to them, changed their stance once it was clear he was being re-nominated.

Sometimes, people have to tolerate even incapable people, keeping in mind the interests of the nation, a senior leader said.

For the Congress, which has gambled on the young Mithun Rai, an upset win is the only thing to hope for.

Various local issues, including incomplete flyovers, excessive collection from toll gates and the merger of Vijaya Bank, which originated in the district, with that directly affect the people, are being taken up in their campaign.

Congress leaders in the district, many of whom were aspirants for the seat, are exhibiting a rare unity in their campaign for as he has been handpicked by to give representation to youth in the state list.

is seen in his campaign wearing saffron shawls and chanting Hanuman chalisa at meetings.

Justifying Rais overtures to the majority community saying he has been chanting prayers right from his childhood, Congress leaders feel that with a boy-next-door image, he is likely to get a chunk of votes from the youth.

has another advantage with open support of the Left and farmers groups.

We will campaign from the grass root level to ensure the defeat of BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel, said DYFI state

Ravi Kiran Punacha, of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, who also offered support to Mithun Rai, charged that the plight of farmers and common man will be more miserable if Modi comes back to power.

alleged Kateel only knows to make "inflammatory speeches" and should be shown the door in the elections.

With only three days left for polling, political watchers are waiting with fingers crossed on the outcome.

BJP is expecting a smooth sail on the Modi factor while the Congress hoping for a miracle.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 15 2019. 17:00 IST