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Updated: April 23, 2014 14:08 IST

Krishnagiri: Where caste vies with Modi factor

R. Arivanantham
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Infrastructure gaps impede development in Krishnagiri

The Krishnagiri Lok Sabha constituency has to its credit many specialities such as, the much contentious Cauvery River entering the State at Biligundlu, substantial mineral (granite) wealth and the hub of horticulture and floriculture products.

Bordering Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the influence of linguistic minorities such as ‘Vokkaligas,’ ‘Lingayats,’ from Karnataka and the ‘Reddys’ from Andhra Pradesh hold the key in three Assembly segments of Thally, Hosur and Veppanahalli. The other dominant communities are the OBC ‘Vanniyars’ who form 20 per cent of the electorate, the Dalits (16 per cent) and ‘Vellalars’ (11.5 per cent).

Since the 1951 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has won eight times in this constituency. Stalwarts such as C. Subramaniam (elected in the 1971 by-election) and C.R. Narasimhan, son of C. Rajagopalachari won the seat in the first two elections.

Over 1500 tiny and small ancillary auto industries, auto majors and a watch industry provide direct and indirect employment to thousands of locals and migrant labourers. Yet, the lack of efforts on the part of the Centre and State governments to improve industrialisation and infrastructure is a key issue in this constituency.

The SIPCOT industrial estate established in Bargur Panchayat Union on 1300 acres has not taken off due to lack of basic amenities. The Bolupalli SIPCOT industrial estate project is also yet to move ahead due to high land rates fixed by the authorities, says an office-bearer of the ‘Hosur Small and Tiny Industries Association.’

Further, Krishnagiri does not have a direct train to Chennai, as the train to Tirupathur was withdrawn nearly five decades ago. The proposed rail link between Jolarpet and Hosur via Krishnagiri and Shoolagiri is pending with the Planning Commission for over a year.

“The immediate demand is a direct train between Hosur and Chennai via Bangalore till the new rail line is laid’’ said M. Thulasidoss, Secretary, Hosur Payanigal Membattu Sangam.

Expansion of the Krishnagiri-Tiruvannamalai National Highway into four-lane has not happened.

Having zeroed in on this seat quite early, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) nominated its president G.K. Mani. He, in fact, started campaigning in October last year. The ruling AIADMK has fielded former District Panchayat Chairman K. Ashok Kumar from the ‘Vellala Goundar’ community and the DMK candidate is P. Chinna Pillappa, a lawyer belonging to ‘Kurumbar’ community.

The All India Congress Committee secretary A. Chellakumar, who has got the party ticket this time and N.S.M. Gowda of Janata Dal (Secular), who is contesting with the support of Communist Party of India (Marxist) are among the other key contestants.

The DMK has won the seat twice in the last two elections in 2004 and 2009, when it was an ally of the Congress. This time, both the parties face the PMK, which is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance that claims a ‘Modi factor’ in its favour. The poll code here is all the more hard to crack as the election date approaches.

This article earlier said “C.R. Narasimhan, grandson of C. Rajagopalachari, won the seat [Krishnagiri] in the first two elections.” It should have been son of C. Rajagopalachari.

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