Will Mithun Rai Break BJP’s Winning Streak in Dakshina Kannada?

Will Mithun Rai Break BJP’s Winning Streak in Dakshina Kannada?

India

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

“I am looking at returning the good old days, Mangalore, but with a new version – Mangalore Reloaded (sic).”
Mithun Rai, Congress candidate from Dakshina Kannada

Mangaluru, a coastal town 350 km away from Karnataka’s capital, has become the site of an ideological battle.

The Congress has decided to field Mithun Rai from Dakshina Kannada, a long-time bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has not lost the seat for the last seven terms.

Rai is set to contest against the sitting MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, a two-time incumbent. Rai’s main poll planks, on which he is attacking Kateel, are the lack of development in the region, unemployment, and a resurgence in communal violence that has long polarised the community in Mangaluru.

We caught up with the Congress greenhorn on how he plans to break the BJP jinx in the Hindutva hotbed that is Dakshina Kannada.

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How Does he Plan to Break the Jinx?

“I have a lot of strategies, basically I’m a local boy, I know the pulse of the youth. The youths of our district are facing a huge problem of unemployment. You don’t provide employment, that leads to people (getting) involved in anti-social activities, leads to youngsters getting involved in moral policing. It leads to youngsters getting involved in communal riots.”
Mithun Rai

How Does the Congress Plan to Get the Minority’s Votes in Dakshina Kannada?

“Ours is a secular party. So we are looking at a secular district, a district totally with harmony and peace. Our minority voters are relying on us in the strong Hindutva belt. I also don’t believe in all this caste and creed. I’ll get the confidence of all my district voters.”
Mithun Rai

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Is the Congress Trying a Soft Hindutva Approach to Appease Voters?

“We follow Hindutva which has been taught to us by Bramhasri Narayan Guru – live and let live, worship your religion, respect other religions. Our Hindutva teaches us not to involve religion into politics. So this is the Hindutva we follow.”
Mithun Rai

What is his Vision for Mangalore?

“Develop the city, get employment, create communal harmony and uplift the cultural values that our district has. Simple. We have 6 km of coastline, which is virgin, which has not yet been developed, like our neighbouring states of Kerala and Goa. Our city needs to be lively 24x7.”
Mithun Rai

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