There’s a lot riding on the electoral battle in Hassan for the Janata Dal (Secular), which sees it as a gateway into politics for the next generation of the Deve Gowda clan represented here by 28- year- old, Prajwal Revanna, an engineering graduate and son of Public Works minister H.D. Revanna. Interestingly, the party patriarch and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, his grandfather, too began his career at his age, but as an MLA from Holenarsipura in Hassan district. While Prajwal is believed to have been keen on trying his luck first in the assembly poll, he reportedly gave in to family pressure to contest the Lok Sabha election from Hassan, the constituency that his grandfather vacated for him at great risk to his own prospects these polls. Hailing from a family of politicians, with his mother, Bhavani, too being a Zilla Panchayat member and his uncle being none other than Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, there is clearly a lot of pressure on young Prajwal to succeed. But he shrugs off such comments, claiming he is under no pressure at all these polls, and says he has it in him to win. He certainly has the backing as his father, minister Revanna is managing his campaign, his mother is taking care of Belur and Suraj, and his older brother is in charge of his campaigning in Halekote and Dandiganahalli hoblis. An experienced campaigner himself, Prajwal was busy reaching out to voters in Kadur taluk when Deccan Chronicle caught up with him. Excerpts from an interview with M.B. GIRISH
Many leaders are touring Mandya where (his cousin) Nikhil Kumaraswamy is contesting the Lok Sabha poll from, with even Congress president Rahul Gandhi touring the constituency. Do you feel ignored?
In the Janata Dal (Secular), party workers are its real strength. When my force is strong here, there is no question of having any worries about losing the battle. I don't need more leaders coming to Hassan. I can handle it. Congress leaders such as Dr G Parameshwar, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, ministers M.B. Patil and Zameer Ahmed, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundurao and others will be coming to Hassan. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda have already campaigned. By the blessings of these leaders, I will emerge victorious in the poll.
Are you under a lot of pressure being a candidate for the first time?
Not all. There is no pressure on me. In fact, both the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress are working together in the constituency and we have given directions to our respective party workers to campaign for the consensus candidate. We are united and things are going smooth.
What is your poll issue?
I am concentrating on local issues and problems of the eight assembly segments. They need to be addressed with specific programmes. For instance, there is Belur with its irrigated area, Malnad (with its evergreen and hilly terrain ) and the dryland. Their problems need to be dealt with in different ways.
Some of the long time associates of Mr Deve Gowda have left the Janata Dal (Secular) allegedly on account of your meddling in party affairs.
All these leaders who left the JD(S), have quit it for their personal gain. When these leaders left the party I never interfered in its affairs in Hassan. Making such allegations against me does not add to the dignity of these leaders.
BJP candidate for Hassan A. Manju has charged that when a seasoned politician like Deve Gowda has not been able to deliver in Hassan, you at 28 cannot be expected to do any better.
The contributions of Deve Gowda to Hassan and to the state are well known. We don't need to learn from A. Manju. What Prajwal can deliver if elected as MP will be known in days to come. Let's wait and see. Let Manju tell us what his contribution was to Hassan when he was in charge of it as minister.
You campaigned for years in the past before you decided to contest the poll yourself. How does it feel?
The difference is I used to seek votes for party candidates, but now I am doing it for myself. I am happy meeting voters and the response from them has been very good. I worked for party candidates for the last eight years before taking a plunge myself this Lok Sabha elections. Voters recognise me and are backing me considering that a young person is the need of the hour. Party workers too are campaigning hard for my success.
What did you learn being a campaigner for the JD(S)?
It was a learning experience for me. Since I have campaigned hard in the past, I have a whole lot of experience , which is making me comfortable going to the voters these elections.
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