597 villages in this segment have fluorid-contaminated water

Though Koppal Lok Sabha constituency is one of the oldest parliamentary constituencies, it has fought hard to get political patronage.

Despite the fact that the Tungabhadra flows and provides irrigation facilities from the reservoir at Hospet, only a few taluks benefit from it. While Gangavati, one of the eight Assembly segments, is considered the rice bowl of the State, vast portions are reeling under drought conditions.

The drinking water crisis is a chronic problem and as many as 597 villages have fluoride contaminated water. With poor facilities for higher education and malnutrition continuing to haunt the segment, the constituency has remained backward. There are a few large-scale steel industries established in and around Koppal, giving a boost to the district’s economy to some extent, while migration of people from rural areas to major cities continues.

The people are looking forward to the redressal of a number of problems: construction of flood-flow canal on the left bank of the reservoir and balancing reservoirs at suitable places; overcoming the shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes; and filling of tanks to ease the drinking water shortage. The farmers are also anxiously waiting for the revival of pomegranate cultivation.

The constituency has been the stronghold of the Congress. It has returned Congress candidates in 10 of the total 15 elections held since 1952. Of them, H.G. Ramulu, representing backward classes has won four times. On five occasions, the constituency has elected non-Congress candidates — Shivamurthyswamy Alwandi in 1952 as Independent and 1962 representing Lok Seva Sangh, Janata Dal in 1989 (Basavaraj Patil Anwari) and 1996 (Basavaraj Rayaraddi) and the BJP in 2009 (Shivaramegouda). Though the Lingayat community is dominant, the other backward classes play a decisive role here. In the 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress won in six Assembly segments, while the JD(S) and the BJP won in Gangavati and Kushtagi segments respectively. The BJP lost its hold over the constituency owing to the split in the 2008 Assembly polls. Now that BSR Congress and Karnataka Janata Paksha have returned to the BJP, it remains to be seen whether the party has regained its earlier strength.

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