Karnataka 2018

I will emerge as a giant killer, says G.T. Deve Gowda

G.T. Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (S) campaigning in Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru district recently.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

In battleground Chamundeshwari — dubbed as the clash of the titans involving Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Janata Dal (Secular) State president H.D. Kumaraswamy — the persona of the incumbent MLA who is seeking re-election and is directly engaged in the “big fight” has been virtually eclipsed.

But G.T. Deve Gowda, a prominent Vokkaliga leader in Mysuru district and a loyalist of the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy, is no pushover. He has represented Hunsur and Chamundeshwari constituencies as a JD(S) nominee in the past and had briefly hobnobbed with the BJP before re-entering the JD(S) fold.

Having worked his way up from the grassroots, Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda is known for his active involvement in the cooperative movement, a relationship which he has maintained till date and considers it as his greatest strength. He spoke to The Hindu and expressed confidence of emerging as a “giant killer”. “It will be a combination of my inherent strengths as a grassroots politician and the prevailing anger against Mr. Siddaramaiah,” analysed Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda.

“Mr. Siddaramaiah abandoned the constituency for 10 years; he did not care to visit Chamundeshwari even once when he was the Chief Minister. This has not gone down well with the voters, especially when he is now making tall promises to develop Chamundeshwari into a model constituency on his re-election,” said Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda.

“This is the constituency which nurtured and helped Mr. Siddaramaiah evolve from being an ordinary MLA to becoming the Chief Minister after giving him the “political rebirth” in the 2006 byelection. Yet, he did nothing for its people nor did he maintain contact with them,” said Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda.

He contrasts Mr. Siddaramaiah’s perceived “aloofness” with his own grassroots cooperative activism, cultivating voters through mass contact programmes and constant tour of the constituency. “I was in regular touch with the masses in the constituency throughout my term as an MLA and this is my greatest strength,” claimed Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda who was once a close confidant of Mr. Siddaramaiah before falling out with him.

2.9-lakh strong electorate

The constituency has nearly 2.9 lakh voters and almost one-third of them are highly urbanised, and Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda feels this will stand him in good stead.

Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda believes as he is from the Opposition, the Siddaramaiah government did not clear many projects aimed at development of the constituency. He believes that in the highly polarised constituency, his personal appeal transcends caste boundaries and will help him prevail.

As the campaigning enters a crucial phase, with a palpable increase in rancour, the election in Chamundeshwari is being billed as a battle between “Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Kumaraswamy”, where Mr. G.T. Deve Gowda is perceived to be a peripheral player. But all agree that the outcome in Chamundeshwari will be critical in the political equations of the State.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2020 6:23:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/i-will-emerge-as-a-giant-killer-says-gt-deve-gowda/article23817882.ece

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