Flood damage, migration hardly become poll issues

While floods, reverse migration, and job losses have haunted thousands of people in North Karnataka, these have hardly become poll issues in the run-up to the gram panchayat polls.

“Most villagers seem to accept these troubles as fate and not as examples of routine maladministration. That may be because they were not happy under the rule of other parties earlier,” said Jayashree Gurannanavar, a farmers’ leader.

Ambavva Tirakappanavar, farm woman who has served as a gram panchayat member in the past, said there is a deep-seated scepticism among voters, who think that every GP member is corrupt. “Voters say you will anyway make money for the next five years,” she said. “It is difficult to tell them that they can demand accountability from the elected members by raising issues such as delay in flood relief [distribution].”

Tangeppa Rathod, who has lived in a shed near the gram panchayat at Bhooranaki in Khanapur for a few months, said he would vote for his nephew, irrespective of other factors. Mr. Rathod does not think that the gram panchayat can help much in getting relief for the losses he suffered in the floods. His bull was washed away and crops on one and a half acres destroyed. His house collapsed too. “It is the State government that should give me compensation,” he said.

Babagouda Patil, former Union Minister and farmers’ leader, said the Union and State governments were “blind” to the problems of farmers. “They want to deny flood relief to farmers as they don’t want farmers to be self-reliant. They want farmers to be dependent on the small amounts distributed by candidates before polls,” he said.

Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 4:20:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/flood-damage-migration-hardly-become-poll-issues/article33427229.ece

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