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Development, not sympathy, will work in Sira: Jayachandra

Express News Service

TUMAKURU: Veteran Congressman TB Jayachandra, who is 71 years old, was the first to file his nomination papers to contest the Sira assembly bypoll on Friday. This is his tenth election in a political career spanning over four-and-a-half decades. He banks on development works he carried out as a minister in the Siddaramaiah ministry and is confident of winning the bypolls. Here are the excerpts.

Compared to the 2018 general elections that you lost, how are your prospects in this bypoll?
Very good, because there was no development at all in the constituency for the last two-and-a-half years after I left office. People are repenting defeating me. I had brought in development works worth over Rs 3,500 crore in five years as a cabinet minister in the Siddaramaiah government. I was defeated because our party workers were overconfident and my opponent late B Sathyanarayana rode a sympathy wave. 

 Won’t the sympathy factor work in favour of JDS candidate and Sathyanarayana’s wife Ammajamma? 
I don’t think it will work in Sira as people have seen the development works during my term as minister. I am still not sure whether the JDS will field her or somebody else, as the party candidate is yet to file the nomination. Unlike in 2018, it will be a triangular fight this time with the ruling BJP too in the fray. 

If the BJP fields a leader from the Kunchitiga Vokkaliga community, say Dr Rajesh Gowda, will it not divide the community votes?
No, not at all. Except me, the community does not have any other leader who is concerned about overall development. People have lost faith in the BJP government because of maladministration, corruption and failure in controlling Covid. 

 The government has set up the ‘Kadugolla Development Corporation’…
It’s an election gimmick. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa issued the note the day previous to the Election Commission announcing the bypoll dates. One cannot impress people overnight and also, financial allocation has not been made to the corporation.

Some BJP leaders, including district party president B Suresh Gowda, allege that you indulge in minority appeasement…
I am a secular person. I only addressed the drinking water problem faced by this segment. If BJP leaders use this strategy, it will not work in their favour.

Former CM Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra had a business partnership with the BJP probable Dr C M Rajesh Gowda. Will that affect you?
Siddaramaiah has been camping here for the last four days to campaign for me. Rajesh’s father C P Mudalagiriappa was a two-time MP and one-time MLA, but there was no development during his tenure. 

 A video showed KPCC president D K Shivakumar speaking to Siddaramaiah about the Congress high command having had a second thought on your candidature?
I do not want to comment. But both leaders will campaign for me. I also met party’s state in-charge Randeep Surjewala and he congratulated me. 

 The BJP government’s two deputy chief ministers and CM’s son B Y Vijayendra are going all out to defeat you…
I am not worried. Let them come and see the development works I have done. On Sunday, Congress leadership will hold a meeting and also send our MLAs and Ex-MLAs to Sira.

What will be the significance of the results? 
They may set a trend for the future. There was already talk about Yediyurappa being brought down and with that, the government may collapse. 

 If you win what’s your priority? 
Fight for the completion of irrigation projects as the BJP government has not released funds for the Upper Bhadra and Yettinahole projects. 

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