CHITRADURGA: In one month, the sleepy Molakalmuru has attracted national attention, with the entry of Ballari MP B Sriramulu and the controversial mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy. After former Chief Minister Siddavvanahalli Nijalingappa’s term, which was when he won the polls from here in 1957, this constituency has not seen much development. The hope is that now there will be work done, particularly to address drinking water shortage. Sriramulu is contesting against his own protégé S Thippeswamy, who entered state assembly last term by winning on Sriramulu’s party BSR Congress’ ticket.
Though it seems a lopsided contest, there is a triangular fight at the moment between Independent and sitting MLA S Thippeswamy, B Yogesh Babu of Congress and B Sriramulu of BJP. Nayaka community is divided along Ooru Nayaka and Myasa Nayaka loyalties, after Sriramulu filed his papers for Badami too. But Gali Janardhana Reddy, campaigning through the day and into midnight, is trying to unite the two factions.
Sriramulu’s play for Badami has also irked the sizable Kuruba community here, who have made it clear that they will vote against him for contesting against Siddaramaiah. They state that Chief Minister is the pride of their community.Thippeswamy has a sympathy wave working for him, for having been denied the party ticket, and voters are also impressed by his approachability. Sriramulu has bodyguards who accompany him. Kariyanna, a former Gram Panchayat member, asks, “If Sriramulu wins the constituency, how can we meet him? Should we head to Ballari or Bengaluru? It is better to pick a local”.
BJP party workers sound annoyed that another political leader NY Gopalakrishna was welcomed back into the party, with a ticket to contest from Kudligi. Many local BJP leaders including H T Nagireddy had been openly against Gopalakrishna, and this conflict may demoralise party workers. The Congress candidate Dr Yogesh Babu is considered a novice for now.
Dalits, Kuruba and Muslims are yet to decide on who to support, and their support can decide a win in this constituency. While educated youngsters want Sriramulu believing that he will bring development and employment, farmers are hoping waters from Upper Bhadra and the backwaters of Tungabhadra will finally be completed and it will address water shortage.