BELAGAVI: In this Sugar Bowl of Karnataka, every politician wants to set up a private sugar industry as it not only brings in the moolah, it also helps them stay in regular touch with farmers and tap their votes during elections.

There are 23 sugar factories in the district and 13 more have been sanctioned. Five of them are on the verge of being commissioned for the upcoming sugarcane crushing season.

AICC secretary and Yamakanamaradi MLA Satish Jarkiholi has two private sugar factories and is setting up another one. Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore and district in-charge minister Ramesh Jarkiholi also have private factories.

Belagavi MP Suresh Angadi, KPCC Women’s Morcha president Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Belagavi (Rural) MLA Sanjay Patil, AICC member Anjali Nimbalkar and Khanapur JD(S) leader Nasir Bagawan have started setting up sugar factories and most of them will be commissioned by the next crushing season.

Athani MLA Laxman Savadi is the mentor of the Athani cooperative sugar factory. Besides, Chikkodi-Sadalaga MLA Ganesh Hukkeri, BJP leader Annasab Jolle, Balachandra Jarkiholi and Kittur MLA DB Inamdar are connected with cooperative sugar factories.

Farmer leader Siddagouda Modagi claimed politicians want to start sugar factories as they help them convert black money into white.

A chartered accountant said it’s possible that politicians with private industries show bogus expenses at these cane crushing units and use the money for luring voters, despite the close vigilance of the EC. He said politicians can show bogus transactions for repair and maintenance, installation of new machinery, advertisement expenses, petty cash expenses, etc.