Partners in Idgah dare, Hegde’s friend still struggling for ticket

Mangaluru: If hoisting the Tricolor by defying curfew at the controversial Idgah Maidan in Hubli became a stepping stone for Ananth Kumar Hegde’s political career, his activist friend, Sathyajit Surathkal, who was also part of the same “operation” is still struggling to get the BJP ticket from the Mangaluru City North constituency.

Mr Hegde, who was one of three involved in the Idgah Maidan operation, was picked to contest the 1996 parliamentary election and he has been winning the Karwar (Kanara) constituency successively, except in 1998. Mr Hegde’s stock soared after he was made the Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship by PM  Modi.

But his friend and partner in the Idgah operation, Mr Surathkal, who is also known for his pro-Hindutva diatribe and association with the Hindu Jagarana Vedike, is still struggling to get the party ticket to contest the assembly election. His supporters want him to contest as an independent as the party has denied him the ticket this time.

But Mr Surathkal had his chances. In the 1994 assembly election, held a few months after the flag-hoisting incident, he was offered the Surathkal seat (the present Mangaluru City North), but he refused. “I was then concentrating on building the organisation. We picked Kumble Sundar Rao to contest and ensured his victory too,” Mr Surathkal told DC. On his prospects for a BJP ticket, he said, “I am still hopeful. I will wait till 10 am on Monday.”

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