Sira (Karnataka): K’taka bypolls: Cong, BJP, JD(S) promise to bring water to Sira. Water seems to have always played a major role in deciding the fate of the candidates in Tumkuru district, which is a hot and semi-arid district.K’taka bypolls: Cong, BJP, JD(S) promise to bring water to Sira. Realizing this, prominent candidates from all the parties have always centered their campaign around the most scarce resource – water – in this sleepy town, which goes hyper during elections.
Sira is going to the polls on November 3, and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.
Congress candidate and old party warhorse T.B. Jayachandra have coined the slogan “vote for serial number 3, every tank in town will be filled with water” since the beginning of his campaign.
Following him, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Friday assured that if the BJP candidate is voted to power, the party would fill the tanks in the next six months, while former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy during his campaign swore that if the JD(S) candidate is voted to power, he would lead a “padayatra” from Sira to the Vidhana Soudha if tanks are not filled.
Speaking to IANS, a senior Congress leader from Tumkuru said that water has always remained a very important element to attract voters of this district.
He added that Sira has always been a parched district. Even groundwater has depleted to dangerous levels in this part. As a result of this, people, especially rural women, struggle to get potable water here.
“That is why we carefully spun our campaign around water. As soon as our candidate got the serial number from the Election Commission, we came out with the catchy slogan “Serial number mooncake Mata, Corina keregaligella Neeru” (Vote for serial number 3, every tank in town will be filled with water). This is gaining traction at the ground level,” Congress leader Shivaprakash told IANS.
Leaders from the JD(S) and BJP too agree that water plays a very important role in every election here.
“The 2019 Lok Sabha poll results are indicative towards this. Our leader and JD(S) supremo H.D. Gowda had tasted defeat after the BJP and the Congress launched subtle campaigns against him stating that he was the one who had opposed to diverting Hemavathi river water into Tumkuru,” said JD(S) leader Rame Gowda.
According to the 2017 Central Groundwater Board’s report, there are 23,893 borewells and 6,135 open wells in Sira taluka, which serve as major sources of water to rural and town populations. The report also added that are more than 200 tanks in this taluka alone.
This report further maintained that continuous drought and an increase in agricultural activity have subjected excessive withdrawal of water on a year-on-year basis.
Since 2013, Sira is extracting 96 percent of groundwater.
Quoting this report, a senior leader from the BJP said, “Only the ruling party candidate will be able to solve the water problem. Therefore, we are trying to convince the voters on this line,” he said.