Karnataka

A battle of prestige in K.R. Pet

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For K.C. Narayana Gowda, disqualified MLA, commonly known as “Bombay-wallah” across K.R. Pet Assembly segment, winning the bypolls is crucial for two reasons: One, the outcome will decide his political fortune, and second and more importantly, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has staked his prestige in this segment this time.

The situation is similar for B.L. Devaraj of the JD(S) as the family of party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda has staked its prestige here.

The Congress nominee K.B. Chandrashekar, former MLA, is banking on the AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) votes.

The segment, has 2,08,937 voters, including 1,02,844 women and five persons of the third gender.

With just days to go for the polls, the key candidates have intensified their spirited campaign to woo the electorates.

The other four candidates in the fray are: H.M. Chandre Gowda of the Uttama Prajakeeya Party (UPP), H.D. Revanna of the Purvanchal Mahapanchayat, K.N. Shankare Gowda from the Karnataka Rashtra Samithi (KRS), and Deve Gowda, an Independent.

K.R. Pet is one of the backward taluks in the State and lacks basic amenities, such as drinking water, roads, electricity, proper transport system, etc.

It has been severely affected by drought for many years and over 120 farmers committed suicide since 2012. Owing to the lack of industries, a majority of the youth relocate to Mumbai, Pune, Sangli, and other towns of Maharashtra for employment.

The segment has witnessed 16 elections, including byelections, since 1952.

Of them seven were won by Congress candidates, three by Independents, three by the JD(S), two by the Janata Dal, and one by the Janata Parivar.

The development of K.R. Pet segment was the major poll issue during the previous elections. Nevertheless, the allegations of “betrayals and refusal to grant funds” are the main issues that the candidates are portraying this time.

While the JD(S) accuses the BJP nominee of betraying it and bringing down the ‘Vokkaliga’ leader [H.D. Kumaraswamy] headed previous coalition government, the disqualified MLA has been justifying his act by stating that he joined the BJP to develop the taluk.

Mr. Gowda himself has admitted that he could not develop the segment [in 2013 and 2018] as the previous government refused to allocate grants. On Monday, BJP leader and Chief Minister’s son B.Y. Vijayendra released a manifesto for the segment and said that “the infrastructure conditions in rural areas are far worse and the BJP has aimed for its development”.

Mr. Gowda is confident that he would emerge victorious in the bypolls.

Nevertheless, in spite of using all his political experience from the JD(S) as well as the arrival of RSS pracharaks, it will not be a cakewalk for him. The common grouses against Mr. Gowda is that he is hardly available in the segment and that he betrayed the “mother party” by joining the BJP.

Incidents of stones, JD(S) flags, and footwear being thrown at hime were also reported in recent days.

Mr. Chandrashekar represented the segment in 1999 and 2008, and is an ardent loyalist of the party. The JD(S) candidate is a veteran advocate and very close to Mr. Deve Gowda.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:05:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/a-battle-of-prestige-in-kr-pet/article30142545.ece

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