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Rajesh Gowda came to my father for Congress ticket: Yathindra Siddaramaiah

Express News Service

TUMAKURU: Varuna MLA Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah, who is in Sira to campaign for party candidate T B Jayachandra, has to contend with friend and former business partner Dr Rajesh Gowda as BJP candidate. “In politics, we cannot help campaigning against friends. Because of him, I may be the centre of attraction in the Sira bypoll,” he smiled, adding that Gowda had approached his father, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, for the Congress ticket. His request was turned down and he was advised to work for the party, as Jayachandra is a veteran and carries clout in the region. 

“I never expected him to join the BJP. For me, my party and ideology is paramount, rather than a friend,” said Yathindra. Asserting that the Congress will win Sira, Yathindra said, “People are aware of the misrule of the BJP, corruption and anti-farmer bills. The bypoll outcome will come as a warning to the government.”

CLP leader Siddaramaiah’s son
Dr Yathindra campaigns in Sira on Monday

Though traditionally, Sira saw a Congress versus JDS battle, this time the BJP appears to have a better chance, especially as the party has thrown its weight behind the candidate, and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s son Vijayendra is hoping to repeat a KR Pete here. Besides, the JDS campaign seems to have lost steam even before it began, as the candidate, Ammajamma, is still in isolation. 

Yathindra said with just half the assembly term remaining, even if Rajesh Gowda wins, he wouldn’t be able to do justice to the constituency as he is yet to understand the issues here. By contrast, Jayachandra knows the constituency, he added. He claimed he is not in Sira to prove a point, but had been assigned the campaign responsibility of a Gram Panchayat, and would also visit RR Nagar. Asked about political rallies in times of Covid, he said that as a doctor he would advise leaders to stick to digital campaigning, and take utmost precautions.   

Lab tender row  
The friendship between Yathindra and Gowda is a talking point in Sira. The company they had set up, Matrix Imaging Solutions, had sparked off a controversy after bagging a tender to start a lab in a government hospital premises, when Siddaramaiah was CM. Yathindra had resigned as director of the company. 

“The tender was legal, but I quit in the interest of my father, and have no share or partnership in the company. Rajesh and I used to work with Focus Laboratory in Bengaluru before launching Matrix.” They are now together in politics, but on opposing sides. Asked if he would continue in politics, he said, “As long as people want me to serve them, I will be here. If my father becomes CM again, I will be happy.” 

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