Apr 05, 2018: Sullia Assembly constituency in Dakshina Kannada has remained a reserved constituency for the past six decades.
Sullia was part of Madras Presidency in 1952. When the Assembly elections were announced in 1957, there was no Sullia constituency. Instead, Puttur had two Assembly seats, of which one was reserved for the STs, and another was for General category.
When Sullia constituency was created in 1962, it was reserved for ST by the Election Commission. Accordingly,
S Subbaiah Naik became the first MLA from the constituency. Later in 1967, the constituency was reserved for the SCs and continues to remain the same till date. According to Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order 1976, the 224 Assembly constituencies in the state had 33 SC, 2 ST reserved constituencies. In 2008, it was changed to 36 SC and 2 ST reserved constituencies. However, the reservation of Sullia Assembly constituency has not been changed till date.
According to Sullia Vidhanasabha Meesalathi Mukthi Andolana Samiti, Kodagu district had three Assembly constituencies in the past (Madikeri, Virajpet, and Somwarpet), of which, Virajpet was reserved for ST.
However, as per the census, the constituencies were reduced to two and the reservation of the constituency was removed and both Madikeri and Virajpet became General constituencies.
Speaking to DH, Samiti president Pradeep Kumar K L said, “It is an irony that Sullia, which has 21% of SC/ST population, continues to be reserved when other constituencies in Dakshina Kannada have a larger population of SC/STs. Belthangady and Bantwal, which are general constituencies, have an SC/ST population of 27% and 22% respectively.”
The Samiti will continue its fight even legally demanding dereservation of Sullia constituency.
In fact, the Samiti has written to the Chief Justice of India, the Election Commission and the President of India, highlighting the need for dereserving the constituency. “There is a need to follow rotation system in all the constituencies, to ensure that all are given a fair chance to contest,” he felt.
“We are not anti-Dalits. However, scheduled communities have failed to get the benefit in spite of Sullia being a reserved constituency,” the Samiti members said.
To create awareness among the people of Sullia about the need for dereservation of the constituency, the Samiti has been holding meetings and distributing handbills.