Can Ramesh Kumar buck sweet-sour see-saw trend in Srinivaspur?

K R Ramesh Kumar

Srinivaspur was once known for its bloody politics. Rioting, group clashes, assaults and murders were commonplace. Such was the political hatred between the two political heavyweights representing this Assembly segment, K R Ramesh Kumar and G K Venkatashiva Reddy.

But over the years, peace began to be restored in Srinivaspur, even as the said leaders started gaining legendary status. Today, Srinivaspur is synonymous with 'Ramesh Kumar,' 'Venkatashiva Reddy,' and, of course, its "world-famous" mangoes.

Having faced each other in eight consecutive elections from 1983 to 2013, Kumar and Reddy are at it again. So far, both politicians have won four elections each (by narrow margins). Interestingly, neither politician has won two elections in a row as they have been elected every alternative election.   

The May 12 election will determine whether the constituency will stick to its peculiar voting pattern or if it will break the precedent it has set over the last 35 years. If one were to go by the precedent, it is Reddy’s turn this time. For, Kumar had won the last bout in 2013.

While Kumar, the sitting MLA and Minister for Health, is facing his 10th election on a Congress ticket, Reddy will be contesting his ninth election as JD(S) candidate.

Though the JD(S) has slowly made inroads into this Congress bastion, the BJP has no presence in this segment. Also, unlike other constituencies, elections in Srinivaspur has never been determined by party symbols, caste or (to some extent), money. Even development hasn’t swayed the election results.

For instance, Kumar, who goes by 'Swami' in this belt, belongs to the Brahmin community. Interestingly, there are less than 1,000 Brahmin voters in the segment. Reddy, on the other hand, belongs to the Vokkaliga community. There are over 55,000 Vokkaliga voters in the constituency.

However neither community has played a decisive role in determining the electoral prospects of Kumar or Reddy, at least so far.

While Kumar is riding high on the "development" mantra, Reddy believes that the minister’s attempts to fill tanks of Kolar district with water from Bengaluru's Koramangala-Challaghatta valley would "poison" the water table of the region.

As the JD(S) prepares for its state president H D Kumaraswamy’s arrival in the constituency on May 1, Kumar is busy going around seeking votes and reminding the electorate about his endeavours like loan distribution programme to SHGs, setting up of 350 RO water plants and the swanky new KSRTC bus stand. 

The 67-year-old minister also hopes that proposals like the Rs 450-crore super-speciality hospital and a cancer research centre would get him elected for the sixth term.

Srinivaspur, Kolar district (general)

2013 RESULTS

Winner - K R Ramesh Kumar

Runner-up - G K Venkatashiva Reddy

Candidates in the fray

Congress - K R Ramesh Kumar

BJP - Dr Venugopal K N

JD(S) - G K Venkatashiva Reddy

Top four issues in constituency

* Drinking water scarcity

* Contamination of groundwater

* Non-upgradation of mango market

* Non-implementation of railway coach factory

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Can Ramesh Kumar buck sweet-sour see-saw trend in Srinivaspur?

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