BENGALURU: With Ballari MP B Sriramulu deciding to contest from Molakalmuru constituency on a BJP ticket for the state assembly polls, many people here are upbeat. They hope that their town and adjoining villages will finally be developed, after being neglected for several decades.
Molakalmuru’s four hoblis and 171 villages, located close to Bidar-Srirangapatna National Highway 150 A, have been suffering from severe scarcity of the water. Water projects such as Upper Bhadra Project or lifting of backwaters from Tungabhadra dam have not yet taken off, and people believe Sriramulu can get these projects expedited.
This is the prevailing sentiment in three hoblis – Devasamudra, Molakalmuru Kasaba and Talaku. But, in Nayakanahatti, the hometown of the sitting BJP MLA S Thippeswamy, people have been organising protests against the Ballari MP’s candidature.
There is no denying that Molakalmuru’s economy is on a downward curve. The main industry here is of weaving Molakalmuru silk sarees and blankets, which is under threat from mechanical looms. A few weavers have kept the tradition alive because of which this craft has won the GI mark.
Another small-scale industry here is of making jeans and garments, and each home here keeps two to three machines to stitch these. But this does not provide sufficient employment, causing people to migrate to cities in search of jobs.
Sriramulu is known to have developed the tourism sector, mainly in Hampi, and this outlook may help Molakalmuru which is home to heritage structures such as Ashoka’s Inscription, Jattangi Rameshwara (dating to Dwapara Yug Ramayana), Brahmagiri Hills and Nunkemale Siddeshwara Temple and Nayakanahatti Guru Thipperudraswamy Temple. With the constituency’s proximity to the Ballari Air Strip and Guntakal of South Central Railway line, tourism industry holds potential, if it gets a helping hand.
Can pull Nayaka votes
Sizable presence of the Nayaka voters and Sriramulu’s popularity among the masses are what led BJP to nominate him from Molakalmuru. The BJP national president Amit Shah made a strategic move by choosing the Ballari MP for Molakalmuru because it is in the vicinity of Raichur, Ballari, Gadag, Koppal, Chitradurga and Davangere districts.
This region contains 42 assembly constituencies and, over most of them, Sriramulu has a considerable influence.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Sriramulu has shown his prowess by ensuring BJP’s win from these constituencies. For Valmiki Nayakas or Beda community, Sriramulu is a powerful leader and BJP hopes to tap into this goodwill. There were instances of attacks at Nayakanahatti, but Sriramulu was given a rousing welcome in villages such as Dodda Ullarthy, Gowrasamudra, Rampura, Molakalmuru, Kondlahalli and Bhomma Gondanakere.