If elected, will complete Yettinahole project, tertiary treatment of K.C. Valley and H.N. Valley projects, says Raksha Ramaiah

April 23, 2024 10:27 pm | Updated April 24, 2024 04:30 pm IST - Bengaluru

Raksha Ramaiah, from the influential M.S. Ramaiah family, who run a bunch of educational institutes and hospitals in Bengaluru and Chickballapur districts, is running as a candidate of the Congress party for Chickballapur Lok Sabha seat. The Hindu caught up with him for a chat ahead of polling day on April 26.

Excerpts from the conversation: 

M.S. Raksha Ramaiah

M.S. Raksha Ramaiah | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

This is the first time you are contesting an election. How has the response been to your campaign? 

It was a very late decision by the party to field me. I have got 24 days for my campaign and we have covered all the constituencies. But our family has had a long relationship with the district. The rural voters are firmly with the Congress. 

So do you see a schism between rural and urban voters? 

Congress has its core base among rural voters. Its urban base has slightly drifted away to the BJP due to the Modi factor. We are working to counter BJP’s support base even among urban voters. Our guarantee schemes have brought in a real change and will work for us. With regard to the Prime Minister, the people of Chickballapur know that they have been neglected and this won’t do anymore. Despite electing 25 BJP MPs, the people have seen that the Chief Minister and his entire Cabinet had to go to Delhi to raise the State’s concerns. Drinking water and irrigation are the biggest issues in the district. In the last 10 years of NDA rule, the Yettinahole project has been stuck owing to National Green Tribunal (NGT) hurdles and we haven’t got any water. That is our main concern, not Narendra Modi. 

Former Congress MP Veerappa Moily won two elections on the promise of Yettinahole project and is criticised for doing little. There are concerns about the Congress government’s K.C. Valley and H.N. Valley projects that have brought water to the district’s lakes. How do you address these criticisms? 

Hurdles in the NGT and the courts are the primary reasons for work on the Yettinahole project being stopped. Moily saab has done his work. He ensured the project takes off Thousands of crores have been poured into this project. K.C. Valley and H.N. Valley projects are game changers as hundreds of lakes have been filled. Yes, tertiary treatment is pending. We implemented these projects during the previous Congress regime. BJP was in power for four years, when they could have done tertiary treatment, but did not. If I win, I promise to complete all three projects within five years.

There is an undertone to this election that it is slowly emerging that this is a Vokkaliga versus Ahinda election. 

Unfortunately, that is the kind of fight our opponent [Dr. D Sudhakar] wants to build. But the community also remembers his role in bringing down a Vokkaliga Chief Minister in 2019. We are working to gain the support of all communities. 

What is your vision for Chickballpura Lok Sabha constituency, if you win this poll battle?

We are slightly backward in education, compared to other districts. Our female literacy rates are lower. We want to make Chickballapur a 100% literate district. The fluoride water problem is there which has led to an upsurge in various kinds of cancers. We plan to take out campaigns, reach out to villages, conduct camps and provide quality healthcare. Chickballapur is one of the largest producers of flowers in the country. We want to make it the flower capital of the country, providing all necessary infrastructure. These, apart from water, will be my areas of focus. 

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