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‘People of Sira want to bring back focus on development agenda’

Senior Congress leader T.B. Jayachandra, who is facing byelections in Sira, entered the Legislative Assembly in 1978. The former Minister, who has won six times, held half a dozen portfolios in various governments and as chairman of nearly two dozen Cabinet sub-committees during the Congress government in 2013-18.

In an interview, he speaks about the development works he has done in the constituency and what remains to be done.

This election is a fight between old and experienced politicians like you and new faces of the BJP and JD(S).

Yes, I am an experienced politician. But, I am young in my mind and very healthy. I have not tired mentally or physically. I am in the constituency always and working.

What kind of work in the constituency will favour you?

I pumped in about ₹2,500 crore for various development works/schemes in the constituency during 2013-18 as the Minister. The taluk was drought-prone and the people faced severe drinking water crisis. Now, people in the town and villages are getting drinking water from the Hemavathi reservoir because of my efforts. The JD(S) candidate’s husband the late B. Satyanarayana and other JD(S) leaders had opposed bringing water to Sira from the reservoir.

Unlike the traditional support base, there seems to be a shift in Vokkaliga voters towards the Hindutva ideology and BJP. The signs were visible in the last polls. How will you counter it?

The BJP’s agenda will not work in Sira. People are intelligent. Development work has slowed down after my defeat by a slender margin two years ago. People want to bring back the development agenda.

How do you view H.D. Deve Gowda, former PM, campaigning here?

No doubt, it’s a triangular fight. The JD(S) and BJP leaders are campaigning actively. The BJP’s false propaganda will not work. The JD(S) has not brought any development work. I will say it is a fight between my services to the people versus the money power of the BJP candidate. It is better to ask Mr. Gowda about his campaign and not me.

All three parties have fielded Vokkaliga candidates. How do you counter your opponents and also get your community’s support?

True, all three parties have fielded candidates from one community. I am confident of getting support from voters of other communities as well, big or small.

This time, what are your promises to voters of Sira?

I promise to bring water to the constituency and district from the Upper Bhadra project, which is under progress. It will help fill 65 tanks. The Yettinahole project too will bring water to the district. I am sure Sira’s outlook will be much better than Tumakuru once the drinking water and pending infrastructure projects are completed.

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