Backwardness is no longer a poll issue

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KENCHAPPABANGALORE, August 18:  Kenchappa (86), a shepherd from Gabbadi village in the Kanakapura Assembly segment that falls in the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency, is not keen on exercising his franchise in the byelection on August 21.

“I grazed sheep four decades ago. I continue to do it. My son will do it, just like children of political leaders follow their fathers’ footsteps,” he said with a sardonic smile, trying to keep his sheep safe from the vehicles on the Bangalore-Dindigal National Highway passing through Kanakapura.

He is referring to the family drama unfolding in the constituency, with the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita Kumaraswamy from the Janata Dal (Secular) pitted against Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar’s brother D.K. Suresh.

Some age-old issues still remain unaddressed, though the constituency has been represented by political stalwarts such as the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. Kanakapura Assembly constituency remains backward and it was ranked 172nd among the backward taluks in D.M. Nanjundappa Committee Report on Regional Imbalance. Illegal granite quarrying has ravaged the nature here.

The Bangalore Rural constituency is a blend of rural and urban areas and rapid urbanisation has led to major changes, with agriculture making way for realty business. Anekal, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Kanakapura are often in the news for man-animal conflict. Successive droughts have left the people in Channapatna, Ramanagar, Magadi and Kanakapura constituency thirsty, even though Cauvery flows in the region.

It is difficult to get potable water even after drilling bore-well to a depth of 1000 ft. Igalur, Harobele, Tippagondanahalli and YG Gudda reservoir are almost dry. The promise to bring water from the Shimsha to Channapatna has not been realised.

Though the Hemavathi is flowing nearby, Kunigal has not got benefited. Shravanabelagola-Bangalore Railway line, which was conceived during the tenure of Mr. Gowda as Prime Minister, is yet to run here. However, such issues have taken a backseat as the prestige of the Congress and the JD(S) is at stake here.

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