With Karnataka Elections in next few days, we present to our readers, a series tailored specifically for people who are interested in all the required information regarding this election. Mahesh Gajabar writes for you explaining why Karnataka is different and how their politics works since the early days. Readers are advised to draw their own conclusions from Author’s views. Here comes the fifth part of ‘Unfolding Karnataka’ Series, now putting facts and numbers together, region wise. You can follow the series here.
Out of 5 MP seats, BJP holds 3 and Congress 2. This region has 40 assembly seats. After Vidarbha this region infamous farmer suicides. Though Krishna and Tungabhadra flow through this region most of the land for irrigation depends on rain. Ballari became world famous for illegal mining scam of 60000 crores involving Reddy brothers. This region has Congress stalwarts like Mallikarjun Kharge & Veerendra Patil who gave tremendous victory to Congress in 1989(178 out of 224). Both Congress & BJP are equally strong here. Last time BSR Party of Reddy Gang spoiled good chances of BJP in Ballari, Koppala and Raichur districts. JDS won 5 Seats by its last minuter candidates but all them have left the party now. 3 joined BJP and 2 Joined Congress and all of them have got respective party tickets. But this time also JDS has got imported many ex-ministers and strong candidates who were denied tickets in BJP & Congress.
KJP in 2013 also played a crucial role in Koppala, Raichur, Gulbarga and Bidar districts and stood second in almost 10+ seats and won 3 seats. This is the land where movement of separate religion status for Lingayats started. Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadagiri and Koppala, Ballari districts have 25% to 40% Lingayat voters.
While Raichur (5 reserved out of 7, 4 ST and 1 SC)and Ballari (7 reserved out of 9, 4 ST and 3 SC) have a huge population of the scheduled tribe and scheduled castes. Sri Ramulu of reddy Gang is the mass leader among ST. Sandur of Ballari district is world famous for iron ore mining. Ghorphade & Lad families were in Mining for many decades. In spite of no Maratha population, they had a hold on district politics due to that mining business. But due to illegal mining & sudden rise of Reddy gang they were sidelined. In 2008 due to delimitation, they lost their constituencies also. Santhosh Lad shifted to Dharwad district while his Brother Anil Lad(He was the close aide of Yediyurappa before Reddy brothers dominant over BJP) shifted to Congress & Ballari city. But Santhosh lad continues to keep a hold on his old constituency Sandur which is an ST reserved by fielding a clerk of his company (Tukaram).
Tukaram won in 2008 and 2013 in spite of Reddy gang wave.
Siddu did a padayatra from Bengaluru to Ballari in 2011 & challenged reddy brothers and taken heavily on his gang. This helped a lot to Congress to come to power. But scenarios have changed now. He himself has taken 2 strong members of Reddy gang in Congress (Anand Singh MLA of Hospet who was to Jail for 1 year in illegal mining case) and Nagendra (MLA of Kudligi who is out on bail in illegal mining case). Siddu has also taken Ashok Kheny who has scam allegation in NICE Road(Mysuru-Bengaluru expressway corridor). He has given all of them a ticket. From JDS also Siddu imported 2 sitting MLA’s. By hook or crook, he is aiming for victory.
Three constituencies in Bidar district Namely Bhalki, Aurad, and Basav Kalyan have 35-40k Maratha voters. Marathas traditionally vote for BJP here and they had a demand of one ticket either in Bhalki or Basav Kalyan. But BJP fully going with 5 Lingayat candidates out of 6 in Bidar district they didn’t give a ticket to Maratha. Since Congress has already given 6 tickets to Marathas (3 in Belagavi, 2 Lad brothers and one in Hangal of Haveri ) didn’t also given a ticket to Marathas in Bidar district. Veteran JDS leader PGR Sindhia used a win from Kanakapura in Bengaluru rural district shifted to Basavaklyan. He once defeated great Vakkaliga leader HD Devegowda in 1989 in the heartland of Vakkaligas. He belongs to Maratha caste. Without any caste base, he won 4 times in Kanakapura. After the rise of strong vakkaliga leader & power minister DK Shivakumar, Sindhia left with no constituency. Eying on Maratha votes JDS sent him to Basavaklyan.
In Samyukta Maharashtra slogan there is a Bidar & Bhalki also(Belagao, Nippani, Karwar, Bidar ani Bhalki Maharashtra zalach paahije). But interestingly Bidar has very little influence of Marathi. In Bhalki as I said earlier Just like Belagavi there are many 100% Marathi and 100% Kannada villages & some mixed-language villages in this area. Bhalki town is dominated by Kannada.
Interesting fights in Hyderabad Karnataka region are IT BT Minister Priyank Kharge son of Mallikarjun Kharge in Chiitapur, Gulbarga district. Anil Lad versus Somashekhar Reddy(Brother of Janardhan Reddy) in Ballari city. Anand Singh (Hospet). Ashok Kheny(Bidar South).
– To be Continued –
(Mahesh Gajabar contributed to this article in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Netive.in.)