The former PM’s contributions will be the talking point
The people of Hassan, one of the politically sensitive Lok Sabha constituencies in the State, by and large, are intelligent about politics. The constituency gained recognition across the country when H.D. Deve Gowda, native of Hassan, became Prime Minister in 1996. He is probably the only former Prime Minister contesting this Lok Sabha election.
The district has been the stronghold of Mr. Deve Gowda and his party (Janata Party, Janata Dal (Secular) since 1991), when he represented the constituency in Lok Sabha for the first time. In the last two decades, the Congress could win the seat only once in 1999, when G. Puttaswamy Gowda, former Minister and bête noire of Mr. Deve Gowda, won. However, in 2004 and 2009, Mr. Deve Gowda won with huge margins. In 2009, he won with a margin of 2.91 lakh votes.
No party has a candidate to match Mr. Deve Gowda, who enjoys considerable clout as the former Prime Minister. Since 1951, Congress candidates have won eight times.
The Congress, with only two MLAs in the constituency, has declared Arakalgud MLA A. Manju as its candidate.
The JD(S) has six MLAs and has strength at the grassroots as the majority of the local urban and rural bodies are in its kitty.
The BJP is fielding former Minister C.H. Vijayashankar, who was reluctant to contest from here.
As Mr. Deve Gowda is the JD(S) candidate for the constituency once again, his contributions become the talking point in the campaigning. While he and his party leaders claim credit for all the good works in the constituency, his detractors allege that father and sons disappointed the public despite enjoying highest positions in the country.
Hassan has emerged as an educational hub over the years with medical, engineering, agriculture, veterinary, polytechnic colleges, ITIs, nursing colleges, law colleges and degree colleges with advanced subjects. Roads, particularly those connecting Holenarasipur to adjoining districts, are good.
Pending rail work
The rail line work connecting Bangalore-Hassan has been pending for many years. Apart from basic infrastructure facilities, people in the constituency expect irrigation works.
Coconut farms in Arasikere and Channarayapatna taluks have gone dry with no yield. Though the farmers have been cultivating potato for years, there has been no mechanism in place to provide them certified seeds. The airport project has not yet taken off.
Congress and BJP leaders blame Mr. Deve Gowda and his family for these shortcomings.
Those in Alur and Sakleshpur taluks, fed up with elephant menace, had demanded translocation of elephants in the area and the operation to shift them has begun, and the Congress has laid claim for the operation.