Discontent in ‘left’ group of SCs may cost BJP dear

Muralidhara Khajane

The group supported the BJP in the 2008 Assembly polls

It wants its candidates fielded from three Lok Sabha constituencies

The group has a population of 60 lakh

MYSORE: The brewing discontent among the “left” group of Scheduled Castes (SC) community is likely to affect the prospects of either the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

“Left” groups of the SC community (comprising Madiga, Adijambava, Arundhati, Aadikarntaka (A) and Samagara), which accused of the Congress of appeasing “right” groups (comprising Holeya, Chalavadi and Aadikarnataka [B]) supported the BJP in the 2008 Assembly elections.

Now upset by the apathy of the BJP in extending “proper” political representation, the “left” groups have warned of withdrawing support to the party in case of not fielding candidates from SC (Left) in three of the five reserved parliamentary constituencies.

According to statistics made available by “left” group leaders, of the total population of 5.20 crore (2001 Census) in Karnataka, the SC’s share is 1.20 crore. The Left group being identified as “Yedagai” forms major chunk with a population of 60 lakh (50 per cent), the “right” group, popularly known as “Balagai”, has a population of 40 lakh (35 per cent). The remaining people of the community come under Lambani, Vadda and Korama communities of SC.

Speaking to The Hindu, State Convener of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti Yadatore Lingaraju said that despite their numerical strength, the “left” group remained politically, socially, economically and educationally backward owing to the apathy of Congress which ruled the State for more than half century.

Of the 36 reserved Assembly constituencies, the BJP had fielded candidates from the “left” group in seven constituencies and distributed rest of the seats among “right,” Lambani and Bhovi communities. While seven candidates belonging to “left” group and five candidates belonged to “right” group got elected, six candidates from Lambani and seven candidates from Bhovi community triumphed in the election. Of the six Independents who got elected, two are from the Bhovi community.

“Considering the population, the BJP should have fielded candidates from the “left” group in at least 18 of the 36 Assembly constituencies. When the discrimination was brought to the notice of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and BJP State unit president D.V. Sadananda Gowda, they have assured us of setting right things by making appointments from the “left” group to Boards and Corporation. But they failed to keep up their promises,” he alleged.

“Now we are demanding that the BJP field “left” group candidates in three (Bijapur, Chitradurga and Chamarajanagar) constituencies of the five reserved constituencies, failure in doing so will force us to change our decision to support the party,” he said.

Thimmiah of Shivasharana Haralayya Trust said that the “left” group had not been given proper representation in the Cabinet compared with the “right” group. “The ‘left’ group plays a decisive role in Bellary, Chitradurga, Raichur, Tumkur, Gulbarga, Bijapur and Bagalkot Parliamentary constituencies. What is wrong in fielding candidates from the group in three constituencies?” he asked.