By Kishor Cariappa
Unstable coffee market, low prices for black pepper, floods, pending rehabilitation of 2018 landslide victims… people of Kodagu have been going through a harrowing time for the last few years and all that was required from the Yediyurappa government was an assurance saying ‘we are with you’ during the cabinet expansion yesterday. Unfortunately, by not giving any ministerial representation to Kodagu, the new state government has dealt a blow to the aspirations of the people of the district.
Kodagu has been a stronghold of BJP for the last few decades. While Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan has been a legislator for five terms, for Virajpet MLA K G Bopaiah this is the fourth term. So, when the Yediyurappa cabinet was expanded yesterday it came as a surprise to the people of Kodagu that none of its two MLAs were made ministers.
Like its coastal counterparts Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada, Kodagu votes for BJP, be it assembly or Lok Sabha polls. In the May 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Pratap Simha, the BJP candidate from Mysuru-Kodagu constituency took a huge lead in the two assembly segments – Madikeri and Virajpet – which paved way for his comprehensive victory over the coalition candidate. Considering all the support extended to the party over the years, people of Kodagu who has expected at least one of their MLA to become a minister were a dejected lot.
Kodagu witnessed massive floods and landslides in north Kodagu in 2018 and again this year south Kodagu was affected by floods and landslides. The losses suffered runs into thousands of crores. It is no secret that not a single house has been handed over to the 2018 flood-affected people till date as part of rehabilitation process.
With a local MLA as the district in-charge minister, and with BJP government at the state and NDA government at the centre it would have been a golden opportunity to bring back Kodagu to normalcy. A lot of development works could have been initiated without any scope for blame game of step motherly treatment.
There is a general feeling in Kodagu that the district has been ignored by successive state governments over the last few decades. Basic infrastructure is missing in most parts of the district.
With the latest round of cabinet expansion, Kodagu will have an outsider district in-charge minister who will not have any clue about the requirements of the residents, nor have that emotional connection that is required in the crucial phase of rehabilitation and bringing back Kodagu to its original glory.
Considering the concern shown by state and central BJP leaders during Kodagu floods and landslides last year, it was expected they would give the district a better treatment when they come back to power in the state. But, all those promises still remain a dream.
With a series of natural calamities, Kodagu is going through a rough patch. The people of the district can only hope the Yediyurappa government will do whatever it takes to wipe the tears of residents.