Jobs, education reform volatile Hoskote

Over the years, the fight for supremacy among the political parties often brought the taluk’s volatility to the fore, but not any more, thanks to the economic growth and increasing literacy rate in the region.

Just about two years ago, during the Assembly elections, a political activist was hacked to death by his rivals, hours after the voting. Violence was common even during the previous elections, too.

But in a taluk that witnessed 17 registered cases of rioting during the 2004 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, poll violence is now becoming a thing of the past. Records obtained from five police stations show that violence has dropped considerably.

Poll-related violence has been the fall-out of the passionate loyalties that political parties command here. As many as 45 cases were reported during the 2004 elections, one of which was an attempt to murder a political activist.

The taluk registered 92 per cent voter turnout in the last Assembly poll, which explains the highly-charged political atmosphere.

Police Inspector M Mahesh said people here take political affiliations more seriously than personal relationships. It often leads to animosity between the groups which invariably results in violence.

Since the early 1990s, Hoskote’s political landscape had been dominated by the Janata Dal and the Congress. Violence during this period often involved the two rivals. In 2008, things changed with the exit of B N Bachegowda—now a minister in the BJP government— from the JD(S), which severely marginalised the party. The BJP now remains the dominant force here, with the Congress and the JD(S) struggling to win back support.

The JD(S) is contesting in just one of the five ZPs and five out of 19 TPs in the taluk.
A change in the atmosphere has reduced the animosity among the parties, which means poll-related crimes in Hoskote are far less this time. Even the 12 crime cases registered during April’s gram panchayat elections are insignificant. The good news, however, is that no poll-related crime has been reported during the ZP and TP elections scheduled for December 26.

Police and residents of the taluk attribute the change to economic growth and better access to education. The arrival of more industries to Hoskote has increased the land value here, while its proximity to the State capital has enabled the youth access to quality education and better job opportunities. As a result, politics is no longer the prime pursuit for people.

“Hoskote has often been compared with Bihar in terms of its crime graph, but the situation has changed and the crime rate has come down,” said police officer Mahesh.

Fact file

Year                  No of cases
2004                 45
2008                 15
2009                 12
2010 (GP polls) 12

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