Karnataka Assembly Election Results: BJP's Udupi candidate Yashpal Suvarna who called for ‘no hijab in school’ wins
BJP's poster boy of the hijab row, Yashpal Suvarna, won in Udupi after securing over 97,000 votes with a vote-share of 58.5 per cent.
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced an overall loss in Karnataka, it saw a victory in the Udupi assembly constituency as its candidate, Yashpal Suvarna, who called for no hijab in educational institutions, won. Suvarna secured a total of 97,079 votes, with a vote-share of 58.5 per cent. He defeated Congress' candidate, Prasadraj Kanchan, by nearly 33,000 votes, data on the Election Commission of India (ECI) website said.
Called the poster boy of the hijab row, Suvarna had bagged a BJP ticket over sitting MLA Raghupati Bhat. Although Bhat had said he was “deeply pained” by the “treatment” meted out to him by the party, he had expressed support for Suvarna and called him "my boy".
A political science expert had earlier told Hindustan Times that the saffron party selected its candidates with a major focus on caste. Kokkarne Surendranath Shetty, former head of the political science department at Mangaluru University, said, “Let’s take the example of Udupi, the sitting MLA (Raghupathi Bhat) who is Brahmin was replaced by Yashpal Suvarna, who is a Mugaveera leader. Almost all seats have been allotted by both parties on caste and religious lines than ideology.”
Suvarna was the BJP's national general secretary of the Backward Classes Morcha, and also the vice-chairman of the Udupi Government Pre-University College Development Committee. He played a key role in the hijab ban movement, which dominated political discourse in Karnataka last year.
He had called female Muslim students who had approached the Karnataka High Court's intervention on dress code barring hijab (headscarves) in educational institutions as "anti-national" and “members of a terrorist organization."
"What should we expect from them for the country when these girl students call the judgments of learned judges politically motivated and against the law?" Suvarna asked, "They've only demonstrated that they're anti-national."
The southern state later saw several incidents of communal flare-ups, killings and issues including halal, azan, textbook row and Love Jihad, setting the stage for controversies. Suvarna was also in the news for pushing towards Savarkar's bust statue to be erected in Udupi after a PFI member filed a police complaint objecting to a banner in the same place.