Korategere, Karnataka, Apr 27 : One of the most backward regions of Karnataka, reeling under drought conditions for the last two years, with the natives digging deep for a drop of water, this sleepy constituency can shoot to glory during the May 5 assembly elections with its star candidate in the form of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President, a chief ministerial candidate of the congress.
It will be a tough going for Dr Parameshwar to retain his seat in the back yard of Janata Dal (Secular) which had its representative win thrice before getting a reserved seat tag for the scheduled castes in the last elections. JD(S) leader C Chennigappa had won three successive elections from Koratagere. JD(S) led by former Prime Minister H D Devegowda holds a strong sway in the constituency.
But Dr Parameshwara was able to turn the tide in the last elections by polling 49,276 voters as against 37,719 polled by Mr Chandraiah. In the event of the Congress gaining majority or in sight of forming a government Dr Parameshar along with the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, contesting from Varuna, is likely to be the chief ministerial candidate.
The party has shunned from naming the Chief Minister ahead of the elections as had been done by the BJP who had reposed confidence in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.
Dr Parameshwar faces as many as 12 rivals with the main opponents being Sudhakara Lal of the JD(S) and Chandraiah of the KJP besides Meddaraju of the BJP. Dr Parameshwara had fought elections from the Madhugiri constituency, which was reserved, and won thrice in 1989, 1999 and 2004, but was defeated in 1994. After Koratagere was made a reserved constituency, he shifted to this constituency.
Mr Chandraiah who lost to Dr Parameshwara is now contesting as a candidate of the KJP led by Former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. Sudhakar Lal, was thrice a zilla panchayat member. Local villagers complain that there was hardly any infrastructure work taken up by the government during the last four years and just before the Urban Local Body elections some road works were initiated.
Dr Parameshwar is an outsider and had rarely visited the constituency and people had to run from piller to post to ensure some welfare programmes were initiated. He however shifts the blame on the BJP government, which he said failed to sanction funds, thereby stalling the development works. He said being the KPCC President he also could not spend much time in his constituency, in which he is not even a voter. With a mix of rural and urban voters, the constituency had a total electorate of 161,540 with women numbering 88,731.