Chikkaballapura, Karnataka, Apr 10 : Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily, who is aiming to score a hatrick of wins from Chikkaballapura Lok Sabha seat, is facing an uphill task against the BJP candidate and former Minister B N Bachegowda.
The Polling in this segment is scheduled on April 18 in the first phase election in the state, while the second and final phase is scheduled for April 23. Besides being a former Union Minister, Moily, has contributed to the field of Kannada Literature and has penned several books. He is representing this seat since 2009.
Originally, Moily hails from Coastal Karnataka but successfully shifted this to water starved district in 2009. Despite the Modi wave, he retained the seat in 2014 with a slim margin of about 9500 votes.
A Vokkaliga dominated constituency, Chikkaballapura, has significant population of Dalits, Muslims and other Backward Class voters and he is banking on their support in his attempt to register win for the third successive term in the Parliament.
However Bachegowda, being a local man, trying to capture Moily’s citedel this time and the battle is getting tough by the day even as the first phase of Karnataka to be held on April 18.
“While the caste combination as well as the pre-poll alliance with the JD(S) should work out in favour of Moily, the internal squabble within the Congress party leaders is a major headache for Moily,” a Congress worker Muniswamy told UNI.
A Sonia Gandhi loyalist, Moily was one of the most influencial Minister in UPA Government headed by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he was instrumental in getting the clearence for controversial Yettinahole Lift Drinking water project to solve the acute drinking water problem faced in the District.
However, Krishnamurthy, a BJP sympathiser, disputed that inordinate delay in the implementation of the Yettinahole project, is also posing problem for Moily, as he had vowed to bring the water within five years of his election in 2009.
The Yettinahole project, originally estimated at Rs 3500 crore, now the cost has escalated to Rs 19,000 crore, still there is no hope that it will be completed in the near future, he said.
The Constituency, once an agriculture dominated region, is being converted into a commercial hug due to its close proximity to tech hub of Bengaluru. Ever since greenfield Kempegowda International Airport was opened in 2008, it had opened up huge opportunities for people of this district.
But also concerns in the minds of the people of the district as they saiy with the state government is rolling out red carpet to overseas investors, there is a fear of losing large area of agriculture land for Industries. However, the value of land in the district has grown four-fold ever since the airport was opened.
Bachegowda, a local man hailing from Hoskote, exude confidence to make a maiden entry to the Lok Sabha. Charging that the people of the Chikkaballapura, who had elected Moily twice, though he is an outsider, have now realised that the Congress candidate had failed to address the problems of the new district carved out of Kolar.
“In the last ten years, the district is facing one of the worst agrarian crisis, as the state government has not done anything to reverse the situation in the semi-urban constituency”, he said.
The BJP candidate, going with the tag of ‘local candidate’and a old timer in the BJP and became a minister under B S Yeddyurappa, is backed by a strong battery of Sangh Pariwar network, working tirelessly to encash the ‘Strong Modi Wave’ blowing across the state.
If one turns the pages of the history, the Chikkaballapura Constituency is a Congress bastion, and had sent as many as 10 times the Congress candidates to the Parliament, with an exception of 1996 general elections, in which the Janata Dal candidate, R L Jalappa got elected, and also become the Union minister in the H D Deve Gowda-led United Front government at the Center.
Among the 8 assembly segments, in the constituency, the Congress had bagged 5 Assembly seats, followed by Janata dal (S) two, and the BJP one.
Along with Moily and Bachche Gowda, who are involved in a direct fight. there are as 15 candidates in the fray, including that of the BSP and the CPI(M). The main battle is between BJP and Congress.