By P.T. Bopanna
Has Congress leader A.S. Ponnanna (in picture) run out of steam in his battle to dislodge the unpopular BJP MLAs in the saffron bastion of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka?
Son of the late politician A.K. Subbaiah, Ponnanna was deputed by the Congress leadership two years ago to wrest control of Kodagu from the BJP.
Ponnanna, a former additional advocate-general, was active during the pandemic and distributed relief kits to the needy in Kodagu through the Ajjikuttira K. Subbaiah-Ponnamma Trust, a trust set up in memory of his parents.
Unlike his father, A.K. Subbaiah, a firebrand politician and former MLC, who went out of his way to antagonise Kodavas (Coorgs) by making “provocative” statements, Ponnanna has kept away from such controversies.
Though initially he took up several pro-poor initiatives, in the last few months, Ponnanna has been content with participating in sports events and posting the photos on social media platforms.
The Virajpet and Madikeri MLAs who have been getting re-elected solely on the image of prime minister Modi, have totally neglected modernisation of electric power distribution in the hilly and forested district, with Kodagu remaining without power for weeks during the monsoon.
The Kodagu Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha has been trying to implement massive road and rail projects which could cause irreparable damage to the ecology of the district located in the Western Ghats. Ponnanna should question the motive behind Simha’s push for mega projects in areas where massive landslides have occurred in the past.
The BJP government has already announced that it would bring in a legislation for easy conversion of agriculture lands which would allow an applicant to convert his land for non-agriculture purposes within three days of submitting his application.
This legislation could lead to unbridled urbanisation and climate change with Kodagu being in the epicentre of an environmental disaster.
Ponnanna should give up his easy-going ways and launch a full-fledged battle to take on the BJP in its citadel in the 2023 Assembly elections.