State-level leaders largely unaffected delimitation impact

Suresh Bhat

The reorganisation of Lok Sabha seats leaves many politicians in a quandary

Bijapur Lok Sabha seat is now reserved for SC

Commission yields to the demand of local leaders

BIJAPUR: The Union Government had notified the recommendations of Delimitation Commission of India headed by Justice Kuldip Singh with regard to delimitation exercise in Karnataka, in the process of which the Bijapur Lok Sabha Constituency had been reserved for Schedule Caste (SC).

In fact, the proposal was not there in the draft copy. There was strong opposition when draft sought to reserve four out of five Lok Sabha constituencies in Hyderabad-Karnataka region for SC and Scheduled Tribe. The draft proposed to reserve Bidar and Gulburga for SC, and Raichur and Bellary for ST.

The political parties, and most of the commission’s associate members from the State including Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mallikarjun Kharge and Veerabasant Reddy, an independent MLA from Yadgir segment, strongly demanded that SC/ST seats should be distributed division wise. Otherwise, general category aspirants would be deprived of contesting elections in a major part of the region. Also, aspirants from SCs in other regions would be deprived of a chance.

Apparently, the commission accepted the argument, and chose to reserve Bijapur Lok Sabha seat for SC excluding the Bidar seat from the reservation list. Bijapur district has highest SC population in Mumbai-Karnataka. According to 2001 Census, the popuplation of the district was 18,06,918 and the share of SC was 18.49 per cent. The reservation is likely to change the political chemistry of the district notably. The former Union Minister of State for Railways Basanagouda R. Patil Yatnal has been representing Bijapur Lok Sabha segment since 1999. If he wants to continue in electoral politics, he has to come back to State politics in the next round of elections.

The reservation tag to Bijapur has thrown up a new avenue for Chikkodi MP Ramesh Jigajinagi, who is a native of Bijapur.

He represented Ballolli Assembly segment (Reserve) in the district thrice before shifting to Chikkodi Lok Sabha Constituency in Belgaum district in 1998 mid-term poll at the behest of the former Chief Minister late Ramakrishna Hegde.

He won the election before joining the BJP on the eve of 2004 general elections. The Chikkodi seat has now been removed from the reserved category.

Sources close to Mr. Jigajinagi said he wanted to come back to State politics and might opt for the newly reserved Assembly segment of Nagathan, which is inclusive of some area from Ballolli segment.Assembly segments in the districts have undergone considerable changes in the delimitation process.

The newly formed Nagathan segment has been reserved for SC. It includes a substantial portion of Bijapur and Tikota Assembly segments, and Chadchan revenue circle, which is part of present reserve seat of Ballolli.

Babaleshwar segment has been created in place of Tikota that is represented by Congress MLA M.B. Patil. However, it includes revenue circle of Tikota besides newly added Babaleshwar and Mamadapur circles, which were earlier in Basavanabagewadi segment. Devarahipparagi segment has come into existence in place of Huvinahipparagi represented by Shivaputrappa Desai of BJP. It includes substantial portion of Sindagi taluk, Huvinahipparagi revenue circle of Basavanabagewadi taluk, and part of Talikot revenue circle in Muddebihal taluk.

However, the reorganisation of Assembly segments is unlikely to cause any considerable hurdle for major players in different political parties from contesting elections in their home-turf.

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