Will Modi’s magic work in Khanapur constituency? He’s coming to town on May 9: Here are the highlightshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/karnataka-assembly-elections-2018-khanapur-constituency-mhadei-water-diversion-project-5161981/

Will Modi’s magic work in Khanapur constituency? He’s coming to town on May 9: Here are the highlights

Karnataka Elections, Khanapur highlights: Indianexpress.com today travels to Kankumbi village in Khanapur, where construction on the Kalsa canal, now temporarily stopped, has had an impact  on its villagers.

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Blessed with lush green fields, villages in this Karnataka Assembly constituency have for long been cultivating rice (paddy), millets and sugarcane. (Source: Aaron Pereira)

As part of its ongoing coverage of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, Indianexpress.com today travelled to Kankumbi village in Khanapur, where construction on the Kalsa canal, now temporarily stopped, has had an impact on its villagers. Located right at the Goa and Karnataka border along the Western Ghats is Khanapur. Blessed with lush green fields, villages in this Karnataka Assembly constituency have for long been cultivating rice (paddy), millets and sugarcane. Also Read: Karnataka Assembly Elections LIVE

But there’s a threat looming large — one of having some of their villages submerged thanks to a water diversion project on river Mhadei or Mandovi as it is called in Goa.

What are their demands? How is the election unfolding in this largely ignored village?

Live Blog

In Khanapur, Aaron Pereira travels to Kankumbi — a village where construction on the Kalsa canal, now temporarily, stopped, has had an impact on its villagers.

Will 2019 bring residents in Khanapur good luck? Some believe it will

There is some hope from residents in Khanapur. Every 15-18 years, the idol of Goddess Laxmi comes to their town where there is a fair for about ten days. Altaf says the municipality has started working on a bridge that will carry a water pipeline and it could come just before the festival next year.

Will 2019 bring them good luck? They hope it does.

Bore well fed tanks in Khanapur

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Prabhat Hattkar started a clean drinking water project in Khanapur where there's no drinking water supply

"It's 70 plus years since Independence but nobody cares," says resident Altaf on drinking water supply

Khanapur does not have any drinking water supply nor does it have a sewage system. Walk through Khanapur market off Chatrapati chowk and you will see cement tanks that draw water from a borewell below. "Isn't water the most basic necessity? Shouldn't we have it already? It's 70 plus years since Independence but nobody cares," says Altaf Savanur who has a tailoring store in the market. "Most houses here depend on the borewell. Those who are better off can afford to have their own with a sump but what about the poor?" he asks.

With no proper drinking water supply and a sewage system, residents say nobody cares

Prabhat Hanumant Laxman Hattkar, a former councillor says he founded a society that now ensures at least this part of Khanapur gets clean drinking water. "We suck water out of the borewell, filter it and give it to people. Initially, it used to be free but we incurred a huge electricity cost. Now we charge Rs 10 for twenty litres. If people want a can they can deposit Rs 200 which is refundable." This residents like Laxmi, a mother of two, says comes in handy. "What do we do when we have functions at home? How can we celebrate weddings? This is very useful to us."

photo by Aaron Pereira

The JD(S) party logo on a campaign vehicle parked inside a govt hospital

"Doesn't matter who is in power, they don't do much for our community," says a truck driver in Nipponi

Nahu Parshuram is a 35-year-old truck driver from Niponni. He offers to give me a ride from Khanapur to the next village Zamboti. "Where are you from?" he asks, curiously, wondering why I landed up at this sleepy village. Elections, he says, doesn't matter much to the people of this region as the sentiment is largely one-sided -- MES. Parshuram says there is a huge power problem in the region. "What use is the water if we can't pump it to our fields. We need better power facilities. Doesn't matter who is in power, they don't do much for our community."

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Kankumbi Khalsa canal

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Will Modi's magic work in Khanapur? He's coming to town on May 9

Photos from Kankumbi

photo by Aaron Pereira

We are now travelling to Khanapur town on a bus!

In Zamboti, palm sized posters of Dr Anjali Nimbalkar are seen

Photo by Aaron Pereira

In Zamboti, there isn't much campaigning for Dr Anjali Nimbalkar, the Congress candidate

In Zamboti, there isn't much campaigning for Dr Anjali Nimbalkar, the Congress candidate. Villagers say she's been active for the last three years hoping to secure a win for the Congress which has never won this seat since the first assembly. Villagers say she has spent crores in the last Rhee years distributing bags and books that have her name printed on it. Will that work for her? Interestingly, Dr Anjali is the niece of Ashok Chavan a popular Maharashtra Congress leader.

How then does Sukaram Naik sustain himself?

His nephew Sanjay, who works at an office in town, doing odd jobs. His son was an alcoholic and lost his job at the fire brigade. He's now a watchman at a government school.

What happens when a river diversion project takes over your field?

Meet 98- year-old Ladu Sukaram Naik. He used to cultivate rice for decades until the Karnataka government decided to build a canal next to his field to divert water away from Mhadei. Naik comes to the field every week and inspects the only two fruit-bearing trees in the area. A jackfruit and a mango tree. 'I used to get forty bags of rice in both monsoon and autumn. Now I can't do anything. The government promised Rs 5 lakh when they took over the land but I only got one. That has been divided among us four brothers.'

Photo by Aaron Pereira

In the absence of any political banners or flyers the mood at Khanapur is quite dull

There are no political banners or flyers allowed so the mood here is pretty dull. Candidates, though, have realised that what will now work is targeting voters through rigorous door-to-door campaigning. Result: More party vans with speakers, more volunteers on the ground.

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Photo by Aaron Pereira

Congress has never won in Khanapur seat

Since the first assembly election, the Congress has never won in this seat.

Patil's poster states that Pawar is their 'neta'

The poster proudly states that Pawar is their neta, banking on the Marathi sentiment and reassuring voters that their commitment to merging with Maharashtra is still very strong.

MLA Arvind Patil's banner has the face of NCP chief Sharad Pawar

Interestingly, despite the Congress having a candidate (Dr Anjali Nimbalkar), Patil's banner has the face of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a member of the UPA.

Patil holds a quick meet with supporters on preparing a strategy for elections

In Zamboti, Patil holds a quick meeting with his supporters strategising how to ensure votes are not split and that people choose him over Belgaonkar.

(Photo by Aaron Pereira)

In Zamboti, Khanapur constituency, the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti is split

Kauli Temple in Khanapur

(Photo by Aaron Pereira)

How is the election unfolding in Khanapur?

In Khanapur, Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti has two factions contesting against each other. Arvind Patil and Vilas Belgaonkar are fighting for the Marathi sentiment vote that this constituency has always stood by.

On Wednesday, Vishnu Varma travelled to the urban constituency of Mangalore South in Dakshina Kannada district to speak to potential voters, candidates and gauge the mood on the ground. READ FULL COVERAGE HERE