Only about three years ago, Hulikavi shot into the limelight for becoming a model village. Now the residents feel let down because politics has taken a toll on harmony in the village. Before 2006-07, Hulikavi, under the Badal Ankalgi Gram Panchayat in Belgaum taluk, was no different from many other villages in the district. The villagers had been cursing their fate for being neglected and ignored. They were not expecting much from their elected representatives or the Government, but only some good roads, better electrification, regular drinking water supply and better infrastructure for school. But, there was hardly anyone who would lend his ear to them.
However, MLA Abhay Kumar Patil took the initiative and ensured inflow of sufficient funds under various programmes and schemes. The villagers too joined hands and played a dynamic role by way of “shramadaan”. Within a year, the entire village had good quality roads, solar-based electrification — both for domestic and street lamps, and regular and sufficient drinking water supply.
Also, with a view to present the image of unity and cultural harmony, all the houses were painted in one colour. Everyone was happy and felt proud when people from far and near, including top functionaries in the Government, started visiting their village and complimented them for their exemplary work and contribution.
But, all this turned out to be short-lived contentment after new political equations surfaced following the last delimitation of Assembly/parliamentary constituencies. Hulikavi, which was then under Bagewadi Assembly constituency, became part of the Belgaum Rural constituency.
Subsequently, Mr. Patil also changed his constituency to protect his political career and got elected from Belgaum South in 2008. Ever since then, he lost interest in Hulikavi and started concentrating on his new constituency.
The village, which once again got divided on the basis of affiliations to political parties and leaders, no more presents the same spirit and image. Many have changed colours of their house on some pretext or the other and many of the prominent villagers do not see eye to eye. The differences manifested to the extent of negative politics between supporters of influential politicians. The Government had sanctioned Rs. 7 lakh for the construction of five additional classrooms and providing other facilities for the Kannada-medium Higher Primary School in the village. But some members in the School Development and Maintenance Committee returned the funds, as a result of which the work on two classrooms on the first floor remains incomplete. However, three classrooms were added in the ground floor.
Some of the villagers described the SDMC's decision as a “sin against students”.
Our wishes to have unanimous election for the two seats to the gram panchayat from the village turned futile as there are 10 members contesting against each other. Certainly, this was not the objective behind developing Hulikavi into a model village. The unity and harmony has fast withered away, said former vice-president of the gram panchayat Yallanagouda Patil.
Keywords: Political dissent