KARNATAKA

H.D. Kote voters in dilemma

Muralidhara Khajane

Controversy surrounds the caste status of three candidates

H.D. KOTE (MYSORE DISTRICT): Voters in the backward H.D. Kote Assembly segment are in a dilemma over whom to support in the election in the wake of the controversy surrounding the caste status of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (S) candidates.

Jaji Thimmiah of Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha (SKP) is taking advantage of the situation. Leaders of the tribal people in the constituency are set to approach the court on the matter.

The Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement issued a circular a few years ago listing a few communities, including “Parivara”, not to be equated with the Scheduled Tribes. In fact, tribal organisations of Hunsur and H.D. Kote launched an agitation a few years ago accusing various backward caste groups of cornering the benefits meant for the Scheduled Tribes. Except Ms. Jaji Thimmaiah, Chikkanna of the Congress, Chikkaveera Naika of the BJP and M.C. Dodda Naika of the JD (S), who are in the fray, are from the Parivara community. According to Srikant of Development through Education, in case of victory of a “Parivara” candidate, H.D. Kote is likely to face byelection in the next six months.

Of the 15 new constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, H.D. Kote has 1,83,546 voters. It is the only segment which has a large number of tribal people living in the forests.

Ms. Jaji Thimmiah (52) from the Jenu Kuruba community is living in a tribal “hadi” and has been working for the welfare of the tribal people. She was elected vice-president of the zilla panchayat in 2004, the first woman from a tribal community. She was elected to the zilla panchayat from Hanagoodu. She has also served as a member of the zilla panchayat’s Standing Committee on Health and Education. Besides tribal votes, she is also banking on the support of farmers, Dalits and others

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