Mundargi taluk in Gadag district is among the most backward in Karnataka, and yet no chief minister has dared to visit it or Mundargi town, the taluk headquarters over the last couple of decades.
The reason is the widespread urban legend among politicians; that chief ministers visiting it are ousted from power or lose elections.
The town acquired its feared reputation after D Devaraj Urs and Veerendra Patil lost power after visiting it.
The Irony is that many politicians both Urs and Patil, besides others R Gundurao, SR Bommai, HD Deve Gowda and JH Patel had become chief ministers soon after visiting Mundargi.
But politicians are nothing if not superstitious. After Veerendra Patil lost his chief ministership way back in 1990 after visiting the town, the jinx has stuck.
Politicians not only avoid the town like the plague, but also the villages of the taluk.
Locals say Dharam Singh and BS Yedyurappa canceled programmes in the taluk, and even took a circuitous route to avoid the taluk, during their travel in the area.
During the last Lok Sabha election, Yeddyurappa, then chief minister, canceled his election campaign in Dambal village in the taluk. Though the village is now in Ron Assembly constituency after delimitation, Yeddyurappa was advised to cancel the programme as it is in Mundargi taluk.
As chief minister in the Congress-JD(S) government in 2005, Dharam Singh cancelled a scheduled visit to the town to avoid `unnecessary risk'. Once, travelling from Gadag to inaugurate Korlahalli bridge that connects Bellary and Gadag districts, he took a long, circuitous route in order to bypass all villages of the taluk, and inaugurated the bridge from the Bellary district end.
His successor, Kumaraswamy openly declared he would visit Mundargi, but never did.
Former minister SS Patil, who has represented Mundargi constituency in the Assembly, dismissed the superstition. He recalled that BD Jatti, SR Kanthi and S Nijalingappa visited Mundargi when they were chief ministers, with no effect on their political fortunes. "If one trusts such blind beliefs for the sake of political power, such a person is not fit to remain in politics," Patil remarked.