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Co-op. movement took its birth here

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Girish Pattanashetti

HAVERI: The Haveri parliamentary constituency which was once part of the undivided Dharwad district is now spread across the districts of Haveri and Gadag.

It has areas that occupy a prominent place in the history of the State and the country as well.

Once ruled by the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, the history of Haveri district dates back to the pre-historic period.

Evidence is available on the existence of pre-historic civilisations on the Tungabhadra and Varada river basins, and there are also around 1,300 stone carvings dating back to the rule of different kings.

Gadag district, which has temples of the Kalyani-Chalukya period was the “karmabhoomi” of rulers who propagated Jainism and built temples, which are known for their architectural beauty. “Kappatagudda”, a treasure trove of medicinal plants and which has huge potential for harnessing wind power is located in the district.

More importantly, it was in Kanaginahal village in the district that the cooperative movement in the country took birth more than a century ago. And, it is a tragedy that scores of cooperative banks are in the doldrums in the district and in neighbouring areas.

In the wake of the inordinate delay in releasing funds by the Government for reviving the Karnataka Central Cooperative (KCC) Bank with which all the cooperative banks were associated with, many of the cooperative banks in the districts of Gadag and Haveri are dying a slow death, while a few have been liquidated.

The only cooperative sugar mill in the erstwhile undivided Dharwad district at Sangur has been leased to a private player after efforts to revive it failed.

Although much is spoken about reviving the cooperative movement, very little has been done.

The delimitation exercise has not only changed the name of the constituency (earlier Dharwad South parliamentary constituency) but also drastically altered its composition affecting the earlier demographical calculations. The delimitation has resulted in the constituency losing Shiggaon Assembly constituency, which has a considerable Muslim population.

It might be recalled that in the last 14 elections only on four occasions have non-Muslim candidates won.

The Congress has been fielding Muslim candidates and one of them, F.S. Mohsin who won from the constituency five times successively went on to become Union Minister of State. But in spite of the demographical changes (decrease in Muslim voters), the Congress has again fielded a Muslim candidate. The delimitation also resulted in the constituency losing Kundagol Assembly segment and gaining Gadag, Ron and Shirahatti segments.

Considered a bastion of the Congress, the constituency favoured candidates of other parties only on two occasions. While Lok Shakti wrested the seat from the Congress for the first time in 1998, the BJP won the seat in 2004. Incidentally, Manjunath Kunnur who won on the BJP ticket in the 2004 elections has now joined the Congress and is contesting from the Dharwad parliamentary constituency.

Carved out of Dharwad district in 1997, both Haveri and Gadag districts have the same problem: poor infrastructure. Many facilities are lacking even at the district headquarters.

Execution of irrigation projects like Upper Tunga and Singatalur Lift Irrigation have been delayed inordinately.

The issues of cooperative sugar mill at Sangur and the ailing cooperative banks are likely to be highlighted during the campaign.

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