Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Minister for Horticulture and Davangere district in charge, said the project was by and large complete and would be commissioned soon after the elections.

The central theme of the Lok Sabha election in the Davangere constituency is the inordinate delay in the completion of the lift irrigation project with water drawn from the Tungabhadra to fill 22 tanks in the most backward taluks of Jagalur, Mayakonda and Davangere.

The previous BJP government in the State had announced that the project would be completed in two years and the incumbent government had announced six months ago that the project would be completed in about one month. But the project is yet to be completed, much to the chagrin of people of Jagalur, Davangere and Mayakonda.

Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Minister for Horticulture and Davangere district in charge, said the project was by and large complete and would be commissioned soon after the elections. A number of villages in the three taluks are deprived of potable water, and tanks that were the only source of water in many villages are parched during summer.

People of Harpanahalli taluk have been urging the government to include Harpanahalli in the Hyderabad Karnataka region which will ensure reservation as prescribed under Article 371J of the Constitution. They argue that Harpanahalli was part of Bellary district earlier and was included in Davangere in the reorganisation of districts when late J.H. Patel was the Chief Minister.

Except for assurances by both the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and the State government, nothing had been done so far.

The Davangere Lok Sabha constituency, which comprises eight Assembly segments and came into existence in 1977, was once a stronghold of the Congress. Congress candidates have won from the constituency from 1977 to 1996. Since 1996, the BJP has an upper hand here, though the Congress managed to win the 1998 election. But the BJP wrested back the seat in the next election and has held on to it until now.

Late Chennaiah Odeyar, who won the election for the first time in 1984, achieved a hat-trick by winning in 1989 and 1991. In 1996, G. Mallikarjunappa, an arecanut merchant from Bhimasamudra, of the BJP defeated Congress candidate Mr. Shivashankarappa.

Mr. Shivashankarappa, however, emerged victorious in 1998. After Mallikarjunappa’s demise, his elder son, G.M. Siddeshwar, contested the 2004 election as a BJP candidate. He defeated Mr. Shivashankarappa’s son S.S. Mallikarjun. Mr. Siddeshwar defeated Mr. Mallikarjun again in the 2009 election.

In 10 elections

Congress has won six of the 10 Lok Sabha elections held in Davangere since 1977 and the BJP four.

Mr. Siddeshwar is seeking re-election for the third time while Mr. Mallikarjun, Davangere North MLA, is the Congress candidate.

Lingayats dominate in the constituency followed by Dalits, Kurubas and Muslims. Both Mr. Mallikarjun and Mr. Siddeshwar belong to the Sadhu sub-sect of Lingayat.

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