To the world, Karnataka and Bangalore are almost synonymous. The city's swanky buildings, its sizeable sophisticated English-speaking populace working at hundreds of IT and BPO companies enables the state to project itself as developed.
But North Karnataka — the eight districts of Hubli-Dharwar, Belgaum, Kaveri and Bijapur, Bagalkot and Bidar which will go to polls in the third phase on May 22 — are an entirely different story. <b1>
Traveling 500-kilometers north of Banglore, it becomes clear that development in Karnataka has been very lopsided.
While cities like Banglore and Mysore have been producing jobs, parts of the north Karnataka have been left out only as labour-generating market to these areas. In absence of any big industry in the region, the major chunk of the population is largely dependent on agriculture.
The disparity in development has given the birth to the feeling of alienation among the people here. “The region doesn’t have power cuts like neighboring Maharashtra but it doesn’t also have industries running on the electricity.
Representatives from this region have become docile at a time when their south Karnataka counterparts are gaining more say in the government,” says Dr Harish Ramaswami, chairman at Dharwad University’s political science department.
A cotton grower from Haveri district Ayappa Srivalu adds, “They (political leaders) come here and talk about Banglore’s development. What is the use of that development which has hardly done any good for us.”
There is another factor this time. After delimitation, the region has reduced by eight constituencies that has taken away the privilege enjoyed by north Karnataka.