BELAGAVI: Minister in the state cabinet Umesh Katti, one of the senior politicians from the state, had created a record of sorts in the state politics winning eight of the nine elections he contested. For the last one decade, Katti had been relentlessly demanding the formation of a new North Karnataka state, contending that the region remained neglected ever since the reorganisation of states.
Despite the warning issued by the political parties (JDU, JDS and BJP) which he represented during his political career spanning the last four decades, Katti had firmly stuck to his stand demanding creation of a separate state time and again. Due to his popularity and the massive support which he had drawn from the dominant Lingayat community in North Karnataka, Katti had seen himself as a potential Chief Minister candidate in the future. He had announced in several media conferences that he would become the CM of Karnataka or the new state at any cost in the future.
Born on March 14, 1961, Umesh Katti hailed from the rich and famous Katti family of Hukkeri. Besides the Forest portfolio, he held the portfolios of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in the Bommai cabinet ever since the latter assumed office as CM.
He entered state politics in the early 80s and contested the bypolls in 1985 to become MLA for the first time after the demise of his father Vishwanath Katti (former MLA). And since then, he contested nine elections to the state assembly and won eight of them. The only election he lost was to Shashikant Naik in 2004 (BJP).
The Kattis of Hukkeri shot to prominence after the victory of Umesh Katti as MLA for the first time in 1985 as a member of the Janata Dal. The Katti family was able to gain a stranglehold on the thriving cooperative sector in Belagavi since then and was eventually able to scale dizzying heights in the field of politics in North Karnataka.
Former MP of Chikkodi, Ramesh Katti, brother of Umesh Katti won several elections to DCC Bank and currently holds the position of Chairman there. To reap the benefits of Katti's political clout, the BJP roped in the two brothers into the party in 2008. And since then, the saffron outfit has been able to win a majority of seats in the North Karnataka region, particularly in Belagavi district.
Ramesh Katti (BJP) won the Lok Sabha election from Chikkodi constituency defeating a noted politician Prakash Hukkeri of the Congress in 2009. Umesh Katti contested all the elections to the state assembly (since 1985) from JDU and JDS until he contested the 2008 election on a BJP ticket.
The BJP government headed by B S Yediyurappa had not inducted Katti into the cabinet but later allotted the important portfolios to him in order to stop him from causing a rebellion in the party by taking him into the cabinet.