Mangaluru: All the three nominations for the election of the president of the DK chapter of Kannada Sahitya Parishat received by the deadline this week have been scrutinized and found to be in order, according to Mangaluru taluk tahsildar and designated election officer M B Shivashankarappa.
Speaking to mediapersons on Friday, he said that Devaprasad Punaroor, Pradeep Kumar Kalkura and K Mohan Rao are the ones who have filed their nominations.
Withdrawal of nominations is admissible up to 3 pm on Feb 1. If there are no withdrawals, it is going to be a triangular fight.
Kalkura is the sitting president and he has already served three terms. Many members have expressed displeasure over his style of functioning, like not calling for regular meetings, non-filing of accounts and lack of transparency, says a long-time member on condition of anonymity.
Kalkura has also an issue of conflict of interests, says the member, since the Parishat needs a lot of publicity and Kalkura runs an advertising firm.
Harikrishna Punaroor, a restaurant entrepreneur from Punaroor near Mulki, had earlier held the post for many years. He and Kalkura were close friends. When Punaroor decided to step down, he ensured that the mantle would fall on Kalkura.
However, over the past few years, the relationship is said to have soured and they do not see eye to eye, according to sources close to both of them.
Punaroor has now propped up his own son Devaprasad into the fray. Not that he is unknown. The latter has been active in social and cultural circles already and has also served as panchayat member. Yet, there has been a feeling amongst a large number of KSP members in the district that the control over the organization has remained in the stranglehold of a handful, ‘select’ few.
The bane of the Parishat is that the prospective candidates get registration of a large number of people as new members – often spending from their own pockes – thereby ensuring a solid vote-bank for themselves in any ensuing elections.
Winners in the last one or two elections at district and state levels have reportedly taken to this practice, according to informed sources.
Rumours are around that this year too the same tactics have continued. Whether the practice amounts to what is defined as ‘rigging’ in the eyes of the law is a different question. But the question of morality and ethics certainly stares daringly at our face.
All things considered, winning the KSP president’s post has now come to be regarded as a privilege of the affluent classes and as prestigious as any political election, say, that of a Lok Sabha fight, feel many members.
Harish Bantwal, a journalist of long standing, and the secretary of the DK Working Journalists’ Union for the rural segment, had tried his hand the last time around.
Although he mustered quite a few votes, he could not match the furious competition posed by the campaign by way of registration of new members.
The election is scheduled to be held on Feb 28. Unless either of the two fresh faces withdraws, the present incumbent is likely to have a cakewalk.
Out of cynicism and maybe by taking the result for granted, a large number of voters may not turn up at the polling at all, although most would like to see a change.
Coincidentally, it is just the way it happens at the state or national level politics. Unfortunately though.