Finally, old Mysore region has got a representation in the newly formed cabinet of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with four legislators making into the ministry.
V Sreenivasa Prasad representing Nanjangud and Dr H C Mahadevappa from T Narsipura, (both SC reserved constituencies), H S Mahadeva Prasad from Gundlupet and M H Ambareesh from Mandya, (both reserved for general candidates), are the legislators.
When Dalits across the State are enraged for union minister M Mallikarjun Kharge not making it to the post of Chief Minister, Nanjangud MLA V Sreenivasa Prasad’s elevation to the cabinet is sure to cut the ice with incensed minds. A prominent Dalit leader, especially of Mysore region, Prasad couldn’t have asked for better, when he is close to four decades of his political innings.
Though Prasad began his stint with politics in 1973 after unsuccessfully contesting the by-elections to Krishnaraja assembly segment in Mysore and later from T Narsipura in the year 1978, his political career took an upswing when he made it to the Lok Sabha from Chamarajanagar (SC reserve) on a Congress ticket in the year 1980.
Since then, Prasad never looked back as he went on to continuously represent the seat for five terms (1980-84, 1984-89, 1989-91, 1991-96 and 1999-2004).
Barring the year 1999, when he successfully contested on Janata Dal (United) ticket, he served the earlier terms as Congress MP.
During the fag end of the NDA led government in the year 2001, Prasad also served as the union minister of State for consumer affairs.
In the year 2008, Prasad returned to State politics and contested the Assembly polls from Nanjangud (SC). Though he won against BJP’s S Mahadevaiah by a wafer thin margin of 703 votes, Prasad retained the seat in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
Now, with the elevation of Prasad to the State cabinet, Dalits especially at his birth place Ashokapuram in Mysore, and Nanjangud, are elated to see their leader getting his due share.
Prasad who was known as a fire brand Dalit youth in his nascent days, shot into limelight with Congress stalwart and dalit leader B Basavalingappa’s Boosa movement against untouchability in the early 1970’s. Prasad who was studying BSc at Sarada Vilas College, responded to the call and organised a group of like-minded friends and took out rallies in the city, recalls Papanna, a close relative of Prasad.
The very movement saw the emergence of a voice for dalits in Ashokapuram, who soon identified the leader in Prasad. That was how, dalits forced Prasad into politics and soon he began the groundwork for elections. He contested the by-elections to the Assembly from Krishnaraja constituency as an Independent supported by actor politician M G Ramachandran’s AIADMK party, but only to lose by 3,000 votes to Congress.
He had to taste defeat again in T Narsipura in the year 1978 as Janata Party nominee and at Lok Sabha polls in Chamarajanagar in 1977, as Bharatiya Lok Dal candidate. Undeterred, Prasad contested the polls again, but on a Congress ticket in the parliamentary elections of 1980 from the same constituency. He won the polls and remained an undisputed leader till 1991.
Prasad had to lose the following elections in the year 1996, following the rift among Dalits and lingayats owing to the infamous Badanavalu caste clashes that had occurred in the year 1993. A novice, A Siddaraju of Janata Dal won against Prasad.
In the following elections, when Prasad was denied the ticket, he contested as an Independent, but to lose again. He later joined JD(U) and wrested the seat in 1999. Owing to some unsavoury developments, he also quit JD(U) and joined Samatha Party and JD(S) later.
Prasad supported his close relative Kagalavadi M Shivanna a JD(S) candidate in the parliamentary elections in 2004 and also scripted the latter’s victory. Eventually Prasad returned to Congress before the assembly elections in the year 2008.
DH News Service