After two decades in a political family, Prabha Mallikarjun makes electoral debut in Davangere

Interestingly, for the first time, Davangere will see a contest between two women — Prabha is taking on BJP's Gayathri Siddeshwara.


Published May 05, 2024 | 5:47 PMUpdatedMay 05, 2024 | 7:51 PM

Prabha Mallikarjun

By Anjali Pillay

Coming from a political family and canvassing for Congress candidates for two decades and more in the past elections Davangere in Karnataka, Prabha Mallikarjun is making her electoral debut from the Lok Sabha constituency.

And interestingly, for the first time, Davangere will see a contest between two women — Prabha is taking on BJP’s Gayathri Siddeshwara.

Once a Congress stronghold, the BJP has been winning the seat since 1999.

The 48-year-old Prabha, a dentist, is the wife of District in-charge Minister SS Mallikarjun and daughter-in-law of veteran Congress leader and Davangere South MLA Shamanur Shivashankarappa.

Gayathri is the wife of four-time MP and former union minister GM Siddeshwara.

Irrespective of who wins, Davangere will get its first woman MP.

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Lists out priorities

Prabha said that if elected, her top priority is health, education, employment, irrigation and drinking water issues. She is also keen on working towards women’s self-empowerment, establishment of handicraft industries, and encouraging home-based products.

“Every party has its own issues on which we build our political narrative. In Karnataka, especially, we have the Congress guarantee schemes which have worked really well. It has been pro-women..,” Prabha said.

“We want to work to improve hospital services and the availability of ambulances. I also want to focus on the mental health aspect of women, so at primary health centres, we want at least one day in a month dedicated to mental health issues in women,” she told PTI in an interview.

On how difficult is it for women in politics, she said, “Women have 33 percent reservation, but then these women have to express their opinion. They need not stand behind the men, their husbands. You have to actively come forward…We need women’s voices because women are 50 percent of voters in every constituency.

Also Read: Congress files complaint against BJP over ‘communal’ animation 

‘I can address women’s issues’

She added, “Being a woman, I can definitely address their issues — focus on their mental health aspect, their financial independence, their education, skill development and giving them their due respect and importance in society.”

Interestingly, both Prabha and Gayathri are contesting elections for the first time.

On how her political background is helping her, Prabha said, “It’s been 26 years since I have been married into this family. So every MLA and MP elections till date, I have been with my ‘karyakartas’ doing canvassing with them and talking to people who come to our house, be it political or hospital-related issues. This interaction has helped and that is how people have understood my nature…the way I am accessible and available to them.”

Countering the charge of dynastic politics, she said she was never an aspirant for an MP seat.

“People themselves, our karyakartas through a public survey, realised that for Congress to win in Davangere, we require Prabha Mallikarjun as a candidate and that was a reason for my selection…,” Prabha said.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)