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Siddu Nyamagouda: An ordinary farmer turned ‘Barrage Siddu’ mass leader By

Bengaluru :Siddu Nyamagowda,Jamakhandi Congress MLA who met an accidental death in the early hours today near Tulasigeri village under Kaladagi police station limits in Bagalkote district was more popular as ”Barrage Siddu” rather than the run of mill politicians.He was 70 years old.He is bereaved by his wife,two sons and three daughters. According to police sources the newly elected legislator was returning from New Delhi via Goa when he met with the ghastly accident.He was travelling in a Innova car and sitting in the front when the driver hit a road divider trying to avoid a lorry coming in a dangerous manner from the front. The legislator received severe injuries on his chest and is said to have succumbed as a result of it.He was elected from Jamakhandi constituency,a sugarcane belt for the second consecutive time and was aspiring to become a minister in the present JDS-Congress alliance government. In fact he was returning from New Delhi after giving a try to lobby with the high command seeking a berth at least this time.He had been a Congress MLC twice along with becoming a party MLA for the second time. But the 1991 Lok Sabha polls became a turning point in his political innings.Till then a novice in electoral politics,Siddu Nyamagouda who was more restricted to his Krishna River Basin Farmers Association of which he happened to be the General Secretary. Thanks to Sarekoppa Bangarappa,then Karnataka Chief Minister handpicked Siddu Nyamagouda to take Ramakrishna Hegde head on in Bagalkote Lok Sabha constituency.Political pundits had laughed at S Bangarappa for choosing rather a politically unknown person before a two times chief minister and national leader of the Janata Party. But Siddu Nyamagouda proved all the political analysts wrong.He trounced the Janata Party big man and came to be known as a giant killer.Probably it was worth a win for him as he was chosen to become a Deputy Minister for Coal department in the ministry of PV Narasimha Rao. Interestingly his close associates confide:While the swearing in for the PV Narasimha Rao cabinet was going on in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan the first time MP was curiously watching the same at his room in Karnataka Bhavan state guest house.He was shocked when his own name was called for taking the oath of office and secrecy and didn”t know what to do.In a perplexed mood he thought of rushing to the venue but was suggested by his accomplices not to do so as the function would be over by the time he reached there! Probably Siddu Nyamagouda”s meteoric rise in politics wouldn”t have been possible without his connection with the construction of Chikkapadasalagi Barrage across the mighty Krishna river.It was during the early 80”s that he became a great personality not only in the state but all over the country. He formed the Krishna River Basin Farmers Association to construct the Chikkapadasalagi Barrage without awaiting for any monetary help from either of the governments.Thanks to his commitment to the noble cause benefiting thousands of farmers on both sides of the river,help came gushing in like the Krishna river during rainy seasons. Thousands of farmers came forward along with their tractors and farm equipment”s to work for free and a similar number of them toiled day in and day out bringing packed lunch from their homes to do the voluntary work benefiting them in the long run. A group of youth civil engineers volunteered their services for free in suggesting the plan and guiding them on the constructional activities in stages.This yeoman task took more than a year or so but never stopped for lack of funds,labour or building materials. The construction site became a sought after destination spot for all curious onlookers of such feats.Perhaps had not S Bangarappa roped in Siddu Nyamagouda to the field of politics he would have continued to leave a life committing himself for the welfare of the farming community and thereby emerged as a real farmer”s leader. May be he”s not destined to become one.His plunge into politics soon transformed him to another run of mill politicians.Although he also became the president of the Jamakhandi farmers cooperative sugarcane mills,his primary interests continued to remain elsewhere rather than the welfare of his shareholders.During his previous tenure as MLA of Jamakhandi all sorts of allegations were made against his style of functioning. In less than three decades the once saviour of farmer”s interests had transformed himself into another wicked politician.Whether he failed to retain his identity as a man of farmer”s genuine interests or was swallowed by the tides of politics no one knows.But he”ll continue to be remembered by the farming community across the Krishna river as long as the Chikkapadasalagi Barrage continues to exist.

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