Anti-Modi wave, HDK's clean image & loan waiver will help me win: Shivaramegowda

Despite losing elections, I am still in contact with the voters of Mandya district and leaders of all political parties,Shivaramegowda.

With full support not forthcoming from the Congress party, he is banking heavily on the goodwill of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for his victory in the Vokkaliga dominated Mandya Lok Sabha constituency which is going to bypolls on November 3. Former minister and Janata Dal (Secular) candidate L R Shivaramegowda spoke to Deccan Chronicle about his prospects in the coming bypoll.

How confident are you of winning the Mandya seat vacated by your party leader Mr C.S. Puttaraju who got elected to the State Legislative Assembly and became a minister in the Kumaraswamy government?
I am fully confident of winning the coming bypoll with a big margin thanks to the anti-Modi wave across the country. Demonetisation, introduction of GST, communal disharmony, lynching of dalits and cow vigilantism have made Prime Minister Narendra Modi unpopular all over the country. The same is being felt even in Karnataka. On the other hand, clean and transparent governance by Mr Kumaraswamy and the agriculture loan waiver will help the JD(S) retain this seat.

Your political records show that the last time you won an election was in 1998-99. Will you be able to emerge from the losing streak?
Yes. Since 1998-99, I have contested two direct elections and lost both. I was also unsuccessful in entering the State Legislative Council due to some factors. This time, my friends have given me the confidence of getting elected to the Lok Sabha though it may be only for four months. Ups and downs are common in the life of any politician and I am no exception. Despite losing elections, I am still in contact with the voters of Mandya district and leaders of all political parties. This is the edge that I enjoy when compared to other candidates.

Many district Congress leaders are unhappy over allowing the JD(S) to contest from Mandya. In this situation how can you expect them to work for you?
I am the candidate of the coalition government formed by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular). In politics, that too in this typical situation, it's very difficult for leaders of two political parties to come together and work for the common candidate. Leaders can unite but party workers don't. So, we have no plans of holding joint rallies in the district. While the JD(S) will hold separate rallies, I will attend the meetings convened by local Congress leaders. I don't want joint rallies to avoid a confrontation between Congress and Janata Dal workers.

You have won only from Nagamangala assembly constituency in the past. Now you are the MP candidate, can you influence people in the other seven Assembly constituencies?
I may have won from Nagamangala but our party had won in all seven assembly constituencies in Mandya district and one in Mysuru district. Out of 16 lakh votes, I am expecting around 11 lakh votes to be polled on November 3. Besides, all our party MLAs have won by a margin of 40,000 to 50000. In the absence of anti-incumbency, all the traditional votes will come to me. The people of Mandya have seen how two actors who got elected to the Lok Sabha from Mandya- Mr M.H. Ambarish and Miss Ramya aka Divya Spandana performed as MPs. They don't want to vote for cinema actors anymore. We are easily available to people not actors.

State BJP President B.S. Yeddyurappa is playing the ‘janmabhumi’ card to woo voters of Mandya to ensure the victory of his party candidate Dr Siddaramaiah. Will it work this time?
I contested on the BJP ticket when Mr Yeddyurappa was the Chief Minister but the people defeated me. Mr Yeddyurappa may have been born at Bhukanakere village in KR Pete Taluk of Mandya district but his party can never win a single seat in Mandya. The BJP is dreaming of wresting the Mandya seat from the JD(S). The BJP nominee may be a good officer but he will not get more than 60,000 to 80,000 votes. The JDS has been in power in the Zilla Panchayat, Town Panchayats, PLD banks and APMCs. Even the Congress is in second place compared to JD(S)in the district. The Vokkaliga community has around 10 lakh votes, followed by around three lakh votes of the SCs and the STs. Lingayats have hardly 50,000 votes. The Vokkaligas have never betrayed the JD(S) in the past and will not in the future too.

Will you stake claim to the ticket in the 2019 LS polls, if you win this time? There are reports that Mr Deve Gowda plans to field his grandson, Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy or Mr Prajwal Revanna from Mandya in 2019?
I have been given the ticket to contest the bypoll this time. I will leave everything to our party supremo to take decisions and I will abide by them. I will never go against the wishes of my party.

Is it true that you encouraged your followers to take the social media route to put pressure on the party to declare you as the JD(S) candidate for the Mandya seat?
I do not know about it. Somebody may have done this for which I am not responsible. I never told Mr Deve Gowda not to give the ticket to another aspirant and retired IRS officer, Ms Lakshmi Ashwin Gowda. I did not go to social media to blackmail my party leaders.

Some people have put up posters in social media of Mr Deve Gowda staging a protest in Mandya over the murder of a journalist, Kenchanahalli Gangadharamurthy, in which they have alleged your involvement...
This incident happened 30 years ago and I have been exonerated from all charges by the high court. At that time Mr Gowda was in another party and he must have made some remarks against me. How is it relevant to the current situation? It looks like the handiwork of a so-called litterateur to tarnish my image. I am moving the court against them. This kind of negative publicity is not going to affect my victory prospects.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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