Five-time legislator Krishnappa Bhimappa Koliwad is an experienced politician who has served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The former minister has also worked as chairman of various panels including the lake committee and is contesting from Ranibennur for the 11th time. He spoke to Deccan Chronicle about his prospects. Here are excerpts.
What are the factors that will work in your favour in this bypoll?
The performance of the previous Congress government will help me win the by-election. People have a lot of respect for me. They have seen through the drama played by disqualified legislator R Shankar and his true colours. Most of his supporters have shifted their loyalty to me.
The disqualification episode and the collapse of the coalition government have given you political rebirth? Dont you agree?
I did not expect Renibennur to witness a by-election so fast which would enable me to contest. The recent political developments have benefited me individually though it has been a setback for the Congress party. I may become a legislator again by winning the by-election but defection is a bad trend and this has led to the disqualification of so many legislators under the 10th schedule of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld the Speaker’s decision to disqualify them and I fully support the verdict. This is indispensable for the stability of any government and to prevent development works from getting hampered.
You had held former CM Siddaramaiah responsible for your defeat last year. How are your ties with the former CM now?
It is true that I had held Siddaramaiah responsible for my defeat in 2018 and had also said that he tried to prevent the allotment of the party ticket to me in the last elections. But, we have come together for this by-election as he himself directed me to enter the poll fray. I have his full support and that of other Congress leaders this time. The rift between me and Siddaramaiah has been completely resolved. He is campaigning for me in Ranibennur on November 24.
Who do you consider your leader in the Congress at present given the infighting in the party. Who to you see as a future CM?
Both KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao and Opposition leader Siddaramaiah are our leaders. The choice of CM will be decided only after the party gets a majority in the Legislative Assembly. It has been a tradition in our party that the leader of the Congress legislative party becomes CM under the guidance of the party high command.
Who is your main rival in the by-election?
There is a direct fight between me and BJP candidate Arun Kumar Guthur. People of the constituency are well aware of his criminal background with five cases pending against him. I have provided everything that the people of my constituency desired. I worked for drinking water supply in rural areas and a 24X7 water supply project in Ranibennur town. I have undertaken many development projects including the Upper Tunga Project and the filling of lakes in my constituency during my tenure as legislator for five terms and also as a minister