Epicentre of Mahadayi stir promises cracker of a contest

Epicentre of Mahadayi stir promises cracker of a contest

Navalgund Assembly constituency

Navalgund, the epicentre of the Mahadayi struggle, has grabbed the attention of the state due to the farmers' prolonged agitation for water. Every day, at least 10 farmers have been peacefully staging a protest at Raitha Bhavana in the town for the last 1,015 days for the implementation of the Mahadayi and Kalasa-Banduri Nala projects.

The constituency, in Dharwad district, has been reeling under drought for the last four years. Majority of people in the constituency are dependent on agriculture. Insufficient rainfall over the years has made the farmers' lives miserable. Resolving Mahadayi dispute and judicious use of water of Bennihalla stream which flows through the taluk are the major demands of this region. However, the politicians have turned a deaf ear to the demands. 

Voters of the Lingayat and the Kuruba communities can change the fortune of the candidates in this constituency. 

Out of more than two lakh voters, about 75,000 voters are Lingayats, 45,000 Kurubas, 30,000 Muslims, 30,000 SC/STs and 15,000 Reddys. There are 1,02,531 men voters, 98,075 women and 278 service voters.

There are 13 candidates in the fray, including sitting MLA N H Konaraddi of JD(S), former MLA Shankar Patil Munenakoppa of BJP and Vinod Asuti of the Congress.

Konaraddi, who is striving to get re-elected, said he was satisfied with the development works undertaken by him.

Munenakoppa, who had lost the last election by a thin margin of votes (2,669), is cautious this time. The BJP candidate, who belongs to the Panchamasali community, said he always responded to the people's woes and had been in touch with them though he was not an MLA.  

The plus point for the JD(S) and the BJP is that they don't have rebel candidates in the constituency. However, the situation is a bit different for the Congress, which has fielded Vinod Asuti, who is a new face to the voters.

Asuti, who belongs to the Kuruba community, is facing competition from a leader of his own community Shivanand Karigar. The latter is contesting as an independent candidate after the party denied him the ticket.

The Congress candidate said that he would give priority to solve water woes and improve the low rate of education in the constituency if he is elected. 

Sharing his views with DH on the issues in the taluk, Manjunath Jattennavar, a resident of Hebbal village of the constituency, said, "The water of the Bennihalla stream goes waste whenever heavy rains lash the region. There is an urgent need to construct check dams and barrages across Bennihalla to utilise its water. If Kalasa-Banduri project is implemented, our water woes will be resolved permanently. Besides, our taluk has lagged behind educationally," he said.

Devendrappa, a farmer in Koliwad village, said, "After five years, income and assets of the elected representatives double. However, our problems remain unsolved. Unavoidably, we have to cast our votes and elect a candidate, pinning our hopes on him," he said sarcastically.


2013 elections

Winner - N H Konaraddi (JD(S))

Runner up - Shankar Patil Munenakoppa (BJP)

Major issues - Utilisation of Bennihalla stream water, implementation of Mahadayi and Kalasa-Banduri nala project and development of education sector.


N H Konaraddi - JD(S)

Shankar Patil Munenakoppa (BJP)

Vinod Asuti - Congress