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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ELECTIONS IN KGF IN 1960’s - MR. C M ARUMUGAM


The current Election Season and the hectic canvassing that’s going on at the moment , brings to my mind memories of early elections in KGF. In those days, KGF was a dual member constituency and the Left Parties ie the CPI and the CPI(M)won 4 times. Leaders such as K S Vasan (1952),  M C Narasimhan (1957), S Raja Gopal (1961) were all elected with thumping margins from the Mining areas. Mr. T S Mani won the elections in 1985. The other seat from KGF was a Reserved One and was contested by many parties.

 An amusing memory that I have of my childhood in KGF is of Mr. C M Arumugam, who was the MLA from KGF for the Reserved Seat  for many terms. He belonged to the Republican Party of India. The symbol of the Republican party of India was the ‘Elephant’ symbol.  Mr. C M Arumugam was quite a big made man with a dark complexion. Just before the elections he would come round to all the houses in KGF canvassing for votes and promising a lot of improvement in the lives of the miners. However once he won the election, he conveniently forgot his promises.

While he went round canvassing for votes house to house, he always engaged Mr. Gallyot’s Band to accompany him and his supporters. While the Band provided the entertainment for the kids, Mr Arumugam would respectfully request the grown ups to vote for him.

Mr Arumugam won quite a few elections.  Whenever he won the elections and was made a Member of Parliament, his supporters brought him into KGF on an elephant and of course accompanied by Mr. Gallyot’s Brass Band playing all the victory marches and latest film tunes.

 Our house was on the main road to town, so the procession had to pass our house. It was quite exciting for us to watch Mr Arumugam sitting so majestically on the elephant. However, when he lost an election, he and his supporters just slunk into KGF unnoticed.

 Mr Arumugam once built a statue of himself and installed it in a beautiful park in KGF near the High Court on the road between Oorgaum Station and Robertsonpet. However this did not go down well with the other political parties in KGF so he had it removed it and installed a statue of Dr Ambedkar the Savior of the Dalits in India instead.

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