For Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parameshwara, the contest from the Koratagere (SC) Assembly constituency is crucial in more ways than one. After all, he leads the party in the State and is himself an aspirant for the Chief Minister’s post.
Though Dr. Parameshwara is a political heavyweight, the fact that the region is a Janata Dal (Secular) stronghold cannot be discounted. JD(S) leader C. Chennigappa had won three successive elections from Koratagere before it was made a reserved constituency in 2008.
Dr. Parameshwara had fought elections from the Madhugiri constituency, which was reserved, and won thrice — in 1989, 1999 and 2004, but was defeated in 1994. After Koratagere was made a reserved constituency, Dr. Parameshwara shifted to this segment.
In the 2008 elections, Dr. Parameshwara won by a margin of 11,557 votes against Chandraiah of the JD(S). Mr. Chandraiah is now contesting from the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP). Sudhakar Lal, JD(S) candidate, has been a zilla panchayat member three times.
Koratagere is one of the backward taluks in the State and has been drought hit for the past two years. It lacks basic amenities, including drinking water and roads. In Koratagere town, each household gets 20 pots of water once in three days. The conditions in villages are far worse.
While there was hardly any infrastructure development for over four years, it was just before the announcement of the urban local body (ULB) elections that construction and roadworks began.
A common grouse that people have against Dr. Parameshwara is that he is hardly available in his constituency. They say it takes months to get a letter from him to dig a borewell under the Ganga Kalyana scheme. Beneficiaries under the scheme are identified by the respective legislators.
The KPCC president, however, justified this by saying that it was “natural” that once a leader assumes responsibilities, he cannot spend much time in his constituency. He alleged that the State government did not sanction funds and therefore development projects could not be taken up in his constituency.
Interestingly, Dr. Parameshwara cannot vote in Koratagere constituency because his name is in the electoral list of Tumkur Rural constituency as he is a resident of Gollahalli in Tumkur taluk.