Janata Dal (Secular) leader Madhu Bangarappa on Sunday that the JD (S) had fielded its candidate for the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency byelection to win it and not to help either the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the Congress.
After inducting the former MLA U.R. Sabhapathi into the JD (S), Mr. Bangarappa told presspersons that if the BJP had a long list of scandals to its credit in the State, the Congress had a litany of scams dogging it at the Centre. The people were looking for an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP as they were fed up with both. The JD (S) provided them with that alternative, he said.
The JD (S) was strong in Chikmagalur district and there was an undercurrent in favour of the party in Udupi district.
There were many admirers of the former Chief Minister the late S. Bangarappa in Udupi district. He had appealed to them to join the JD(S) as it was Mr. Bangarappa's dream to bring the JD(S) into power under the leadership of the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
There was infighting in the BJP. Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda was fighting to save his position, while the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was bent on bringing Mr. Gowda down. With the result, Mr. Gowda could not concentrate on governance, he said.
“This byelection will be an indicator of the future course of politics in the State. I am confident that the JD(S) candidate S.L. Bhoje Gowda will win. Mr. Sabhapathi's induction into our party will give us added strength,” Mr. Bangarappa said.
Mr. Sabhapathi said he had joined the JD (S) as there was a political vacuum in the district. People were disappointed both with the BJP and the Congress.
People remembered the 20-month rule of Mr. Kumaraswamy in the State. They wanted that period to return.
“All State-level leaders would campaign for Mr. Gowda. My supporters will join the JD (S) in the presence of Mr. Kumaraswamy at a public meeting to be held here on March 7,” Mr. Sabhapathi said.
Mr. Sabhapathi was elected MLA from the Udupi Assembly constituency in 1994 on the Karnataka Congress Party (KCP) ticket. Later, the KCP merged with the Congress. He was re-elected from Udupi Assembly constituency in 1999 as a Congress candidate, but lost against BJP's K. Raghupati Bhat in 2004.
JD(S) leaders Mahendra Kumar, Deviprasad Shetty, Ghulam Mohammed, Govindaraju, and Dillesh Shetty were present.