Source: Biddu This story has been written by Biddu for this blog.
But for a few aberrations in the history of Indian elections, caste has been all the more dominate in deciding the prospects of political parties and contesting candidates. Those who value of caste and work out have always gained. This has been proved time and again, as elsewhere in the country and state, in Belgaum too.
With or without issues pertaining to development and progress, caste remains omnipotent in this election too. Ultimately, as the candidates fail to impress the electorate or elevate their voting-conscience above caste and religion based voting, they are back to same old game of consolidating the vote-banks on basis of caste and religion. The composition of caste, they know, would be ultimate in deciding their future at the hustings. That’s why, a candidate told Biddu here on Wednesday, all political parties invariably look into the caste and sub-caste before announcing their candidature.
In the three assembly constituencies of Belgaum North, Belagum and Belgaum Rural, the future of the candidates in the fray is depends on how the individual caste group will vote. But, not candidate can afford to ignore the major caste such as Lingayats, Marathas, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Muslims and Jains, which are bound to play crucial role in these elections too.
According to one estimate obtained from a government department by Biddu, of the total electoral college constituting of 1,77,320 in BN the presence of lingayats is highest and account for 52,000 electorates, followed by the Marathas whose strength is 38,000. The Muslims for the third highest voter population with 40,000 followed by SCs-15,000, STs-11,000, Jain-8000, Bhrahim-4000, Kurbar-2000, Devang-3000, Maheswari(Marwari)-1000, Kankani-1000 and Others-2320.
Similarly, in Belgaum South, the composition shows that Marathas dominate the constituency with 50,000 voters followed by Jains, which account for 21,000. The lingayat constitute 16,000; Muslim, SC and Devang-15,000 each, ST-6000, Brahmin-10,000, Maheshwari-7000, Kurbar-5000, Konkani-6000, Savaji(Kshatriya)2000, Hanabar-1000 and Others-11,030. The total voters in the constituency are 1,800,30.
In Belgaum South having 1,87,025 voters, Maraths are in highest number, about 70,000. The lingayats form the second highest voter population followed by Muslims, about 6,000. The strength of voters belonging to other castes are SC-14,000; ST-13,500, Jain-7000, Brahmin-2000, Kurbar-4000, Hanabar-7,800, Devang-1,824, and Others-1901.
If these figures are any indication, the contesting candidates belonging to either of these castes or religious communities can very well guess about their prospects, even while pinning their hopes on some support from sympathetic individuals belonging to caste(s) other than their own.