From being a successful homemaker, Bhavani Revanna, wife of former Minister and MLA H.D. Revanna, has entered electoral politics fighting her maiden political battle from Halekote Zilla Panchayat seat in Hassan.
Being a member of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's family, Bhavani has seen politics from close quarters over the years. She has balanced her time and energy between her family and political campaigns and has never shied away from rendering a helping hand on her husband's behalf to the people in need.
In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Ms Bhavani spoke on how she came into politics which ultimately made her enter the electoral fray. Excerpts from the interview:
What attracted you to politics?
When I married H.D. Revanna in 1985, my father-in-law and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda was Minister for Irrigation and Public Works. People used to visit the house daily and I learnt how to get along with them.
Later, when Mr Revanna entered politics, I got a chance to interact with voters more. In 1994, Revanna became MLA for the first time and a Minister in 1996. After he lost the 1999 election, I took it as a challenge and became more active with Mr Revanna.
From 2003-04 onwards, I got close to voters and a desire was born in me to serve the people. Not only was I close to them, even voters started getting close to me.
Those who know the Deve Gowda family very well, say you took care of your father-in-law and other relatives. And now you want to extract your pound of flesh?
No, that’s not true. It was my service to the people which got me into politics.
In the past, whenever there was an election, your name would crop up. People close to the family would say you have been trying hard to enter politics, but could not. How did you manage to get the ticket this time?
There was no consensus among party leaders on the choice of candidate. Finally all of them wanted me to enter the fray and I had to accept. Before I could take a final call whether to enter public life, I was made to take the plunge into electoral politics. So I contested from Halekote Zilla Panchayat seat.
You say that workers insisted you contest. If you had said 'no', the seat would have gone to a party worker?
I had resisted the pressure of party leaders in the past. Seeing my participation in Mr Revanna's public life, leaders had mounted pressure on me to contest the assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.
Again, leaders from Mandya wanted me to contest the Mandya Lok Sabha election. There was similar pressure to contest the 2015 Legislative Council election too, I said no on all previous occasions.
Both Mr Deve Gowda and State JD(S) president H.D. Kumaraswamy had said that no other family member would enter public life? How did they break their word?
Yes, It’s true. My entry into the electoral fray was an accident. Our family kept out of politics probably because we have Mr Deve Gowda Mr Revanna and Mr Kumaraswamy in public life. There is no reservation in the mind of Mr Deve Gowda on me entering public life.
He could not make it at the time of me filing my nomination papers as he was unwell and was taking rest. Mr Gowda was at our house in Holenarsipur and spent the whole day meeting leaders and workers.
As far as public life is concerned, what have you learnt from Mr Deve Gowda?
The way Mr Deve Gowda interacts with people. His affection for the public is something I have watched and experienced over the years. I have learnt how one should conduct himself in public life and lead a life serving people.
If service was your motive, then you could have served people from behind the scenes?
So far, I have done that without coming into the picture. On behalf of Mr Revanna, I have taken steps to solve several issues pertaining to girls and women. Besides, I have helped certain girls get education in diploma courses, in the ITI and TCH.
Your entry into politics proves that yours is a family run party and no one else can grow?
Now, that I’m in politics, I will identify people and help them grow in politics.
The JD(S) is losing its base in Ramanagar, Mysuru and Mandya. What future does the party have?
We have to respect the voters' decision in elections. But, the Janata Dal (Secular) strength is not declining. People have been watching the performance of the state government which has not lived upto the expectations of the people. Surely, Janata Dal (Secular) will bounce back in coming days.
When will Prajwal (Bhavani’s son) join politics? What does he do now?
Earlier, it was I who said no to Prajwal joining politics after he completed his engineering course. He has the qualities of his grandfather- Mr Deve Gowda and moves among people with ease. Whether he should join politics and enter the electoral fray, is a decision left to him and Mr Deve Gowda.
Is this a trial run for the assembly and parliamentary polls because Deve Gowda has said he would not contest the elections next time? Are you preparing the ground for a contest?
I am confident of winning the ZP election but I have not thought of becoming an MLA or something big in politics at the moment.
If JD(S) gets a majority in Hassan ZP, and you win, you can become ZP president which has deputy minister's rank. Is this the reason why you have come into politics?
People have expectations from me. I was too busy campaigning for the ZP elections and had no time to think about this.
How did the JD(S) perform in the ZP election in Hassan?
We are confident of winning 30 to 35 seats to retain power in the Zill a Panchayat....