Will the unanimous election on Tuesday of BJP leader from Dakshina Kannada D.V. Sadananda Gowda as leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council translate into greater development opportunities for the coastal region?

Mr. Gowda’s new role comes after the BJP’s debacle in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the recent Assembly elections. The party won just two out of the 13 seats in the two districts. The party was humbled even in Puttur, the home town of Mr. Gowda. However, the party has shown confidence in him and chosen him for the new role. There were reportedly attempts to assign this role to former Housing Minister V. Somanna.

While power equations of a region do matter in claiming its share in the State’s pie, the collective bargain power of the ruling and opposition party in the legislature will help in advancing the arguments in favour of an area. If a couple of Ministers from the coastal districts make it to the Siddaramaiah’s cabinet in the expansion expected on Friday, Mr. Gowda’s new role could come in handy addressing the long term goals of the region if he chooses to get proactive.

The ministers-to-be and Mr. Gowda would do well if they work in tandem setting aside political differences for the region’s benefit. After all, leaders are remembered only if they achieve greater good of the civil society irrespective of the party to which they belong. The region has seen people like U.S. Mallya continue to be shining example of politician-driven growth of an area.

As Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr. Gowda, during whose period Sakala scheme of deadline-oriented extension of State’s services was rolled out, spent more time dealing with internal strife than exhibiting a vision of his own for the State. If time of 11 months in the post was too patchy do anything extra-ordinary, he can now hold a mirror to the Government’s failures at the State level and contribute to the growth of coastal region particular as well ensuring the BJP’s flagship scheme Sakala remains well-grounded.

There is no dearth of issues that need urgent attention. Beginning from development of key Mani-Sampaje road to concreting of the Shiradi Ghat road and its widening, tapping tourism potential, sustainable growth of fisheries and so on. The issues of areca growers which he championed once could get his special attention.

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