He believes campaigning by former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, who recently quit the Congress, to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, will have no impact on the party’s prospects in the coming bypolls and anti-incumbency too will play no role. Instead Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appeared confident about his party's victory in an interview with special correspondent Shyam Sundar Vattam. Excerpts:
Will the results of the two by-elections reveal whether or not your government has the people’s mandate? The results of the by- elections should not be construed as a people's mandate, but they will definitely indicate their perception of our government. While we have no new strategy planned for the by-elections or for the coming assembly polls next year, we are confident of coming back to power based on our performance. The opposition parties are trying to gain votes by making false promises, but they will be rejected lock, stock and barrel by the people.
The Nanjangud by- election is being portrayed as a fight between you and former minister, V Srinivasprasad. This is totally wrong. In my view it's a fight between secularism and communalism. It's a fight between the Congress and the BJP. Kalale Keshavamurthy is a good candidate, who had lost against Mr Srinivasaprasad only by a narrow margin in the last election. We did not hijack him. He wanted to join the Congress much before the election.
Do you have a pact with the JDS as it has not fielded candidates for both byelections? No we don’t. I met district JDS president, Narasimhaswamy to seek his party’s support for our candidate as he is a good friend and I knew his father since my days in the Janata Parivar. All I want is to defeat a communal party like the BJP. Our government has been free of scams for the last four years. We have also won all elections held during this time. This has increased our confidence.
Former Chief Minister, S M Krishna is likely to campaign in both constituencies next week. Will this have any impact on the prospects of your party? Let any leader campaign for the BJP, but the people will support the Congress. They know whom to support and whom to vote for.
Will anti- incumbency hurt your party’s prospects? Anti- incumbency is for those governments that have failed to deliver the goods during their tenure. But our government has fulfilled 90 per cent of its promises made to the people in 2013. People have seen our achievements. We are confident of winning both seats as both our candidates are good.
There is a feeling that you are relying heavily on AHINDA votes. This is a wrong notion. Our party strongly believes in the welfare of all people. The Congress is the only party, which enjoys the support of all communities. Our party has always believed in secularism and expects the votes of all sections of society.
Poll officials slow down CM Setting off from his residence in Ramakrishna Nagar in his trademark attire of silk kurta and dhoti at 8-45 am on Saturday, CM Siddaramaiah raced through Gundlupet Assembly constituency to drum up support for Geetha Mahadev Prasad, promising voters that he would return to share a meal after her victory.
En-route Gundlupet, the CM patiently waited for a thorough check by election commission staff and attended a campaign strategy meeting with cabinet colleagues D.K. Shivakumar and U.T. Khader and deputy chairman of state planning board C.M. Ibrahim. Meanwhile, a car belonging to his son Dr Yatindra was seized as it had the pass only for Nanjangud constituency.
At the first stop, Mallaiyanapura, a village six km from Gundlupet, Mr Siddaramaiah engaged the voters in a conversation, asking about them about the number of voters. When told that there were 2,300 voters, he replied “I want all votes to go to our party candidate. I will come again after her victory and eat kalle hulli”.