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In Karnataka's Hindutva Lab, BJP's Tally Reduces from 16 to 13, Congress Gains

Coastal Karnataka has been BJP's stronghold, one which saw heightened polarisation in the last few years.

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The BJP has won 13 of the 19 seats in Coastal Karnataka, a climbdown from its 2018 performance of 16 seats. The Congress has won six seats, an increase from three seats that it won in the last election.

The BJP’s deteriorated performance comes at a time when the party in the last few years went all guns blazing in Coastal Karnataka— it’s traditional stronghold in the state— with polarising issues.

The coastal Karnataka comprises of three districts—Udupi, Uttar Kannada and Dakshin Kannada. It is in Udupi that the Hijab ban first came into place and then subsequently spread across the state. Udupi also saw intense 'counter protests' by saffron shawl wearing men from Hindutva organisations against the Hijabi students. While the BJP’s overall tally in the region went down, the BJP’s Udupi candidate Yashpal Suvarna, who led the politics against the Hijab, has won by 20 per cent margin against the Congress’ Prasadraj Kanchan.

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Hijab, Halal Meat, Muslim Vendors — Issues Raked Up In Coastal Karnataka

Soon after the hijab ban issue was raised, another issue was raked up in the Coastal Karnataka region—that of ban of Halal meat. While the issue failed to gain resonance across the state, it did impact the local Muslim meat sellers in the region.

Much of the demand for boycott of Muslim vegetable and fruit vendors outside temples was also raised in this region. Despite this, the BJP hasn’t improved on its previous performance, but worsened.

The Congress has won Mangalore, Puttur, Bhatkal, Karwar, Sirsi and Haliyal seats.

The BJP has won in Mangalore North, Mangalore South, Bantwal, Moodabidri, Sullia, Belthangady, Kumta, Yellapur, Byndoor, Karkala, Kapu, Kundapura besides Udupi.

The BJP candidate from Sullia constituency is Bhagirathi Murulya, who became the first Dalit woman from coastal Karnataka to make it to the Karnataka assembly. In Kumta, the BJP’s Dinakar Keshav Shetty won by a margin of less than one per cent—with JD(S)’ Suraj Naik Soni being the runner up. While most JD(s) candidates failed to make a mark in coastal Karnataka, Soni was inching towards a victory but the neck and neck fight with the BJP candidate ultimately resulted in the latter's win. The Congress’ Alva Nivedith was a distant third.

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