Karnataka: Will the going get tough for Priyank Kharge Jr?

KALABURAGI: Not withstanding his lineage, the support base, and impressive developmental projects Chittapur Assembly constituency, IT minister Priyank Kharge could have a tough time during polls on May 12 in view of his style of functioning and inaccessibility to local leaders and voters.

Although a BSP candidate is in the fray, there is a straight fight between Mr Priyank Kharge and labour leader Valmiki Naik of BJP. Mr Naik defeated Mr Priyank Kharge in a by-poll in 2010, held following Mr Mallikarjun Kharge's resignation as legislator. In 2013, however, Mr Priyank Kharge avenged the defeat, trouncing Mr Naik by an impressive a margin of 31, 000-odd votes.

Chittapur reserved constituency, which has majority Lingayat voters followed by a sizeable voters of Kabbaliga, Lambani, Dalit and Muslim communities besides Kurubas and Idigas, was a general constituency before delimitation in 2008.

Mr Baburao Chinchansur, who represented Chittapur in 1989, 1994 and 1999 followed a unique style to win over the support – pander to the needs of party leaders and village headmen. By winning the seat three times without a break and becoming a minister in government headed by Chief Minister S M Krishna, Mr Chinchansur demonstrated that he could easily win the elections without carrying out development works by winning over party leaders, many of whom were contractors, and acted as middlemen between  legislator and voters.

But Mr Priyank Kharge, who won the seat by promising to develop it as a model constituency, infused an alien culture in the constituency- pay attention for development works rather try to keep the leaders in good humour. It is said that Mr Priyank Kharge has brought projects worth over Rs 2,700 crores to the constituency during the last five years.

He went a step further and tried to build a direct rapport with voters, bypassing the party functionaries or leaders. “This has alienated the leaders, who are openly expressing their dissatisfaction him”, a senior leader pointed out.

In addition, his inaccessibility to voters and also commanding nature has turned leaders and also voters against him. “It’s not that every leader expects a monetary benefit from him- some would like to flaunt their clout with the legislator.  There are others  who would expect their legislator to attend their social functions and easily accessible to them in the constituency. 

There are others, especially the religious heads who would expect their legislator to accord them respect in the manner that others, including legislators and miniters, did . But Mr Priyank would not do that. Mr Priyank does not touch the feet of Swamijis, even if they are very elderly persons, he only greets them with folded hands. 

This has generated impression that the “Sanna Sab” ( as Mr Priyank is addressed by the common people) is arrogant”, a senior leader observed.
Another challenge that Mr Priyank Kharge faces this time would be the challenge thrown by senior leader Mr Malikayya Guttedar.

Mr Malikayya, who recently a diatribe against the minister, declared that his main aim would be to defeat Mr Priyank Kharge. Besides mobilizing the support of own Idiga community voters, who are in good numbers in the constituency for BJP, Mr Malikayya is also trying hard to send out the message that they need not fear about the clout wielded by Mr Kharge and they should stand up against them. 

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Note from Kannada.Club :

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