BJP’s Umesh Katti all set to enter record books

Well-known politician Umesh Katti of the BJP from Hukkeri constituency is gearing up to create a record in state politics by winning for the eighth time. It appears that he still nurses an ambition to become Chief Minister and see north-Karnataka gain statehood.  He spoke of this and more in an interview with Naushad Bijapur. Excerpts:

Having won seven of the eight assembly elections you have contested from Hukkeri constituency, do you think you can win again?

I have contested eight elections and lost only one. This will be my ninth and I am confident I will win and create a record.

Do you still want a separate state for  north-Karnataka? 

Why not?  I always wanted a separate north-Karnataka state. We have seen it being discriminated against a lot by governments for a long time. It has been suffering injustice in all areas, including appointment of employees to different government departments and implementation of schemes and programmes. Separate statehood is inevitable for  its overall development.

You once nurtured an ambition to become Chief Minister. Do you still do?

See, I have been Minister for 10 years in my 30-year political career and handled seven important portfolios. As an MLA I am entitled to become CM. But not this time. I want to see my leader, B S Yeddyurappa become CM. My turn will definitely come. I will surely become CM. 

How close do you think the contest in Hukkeri will be with your old colleague, A B Patil of the Congress?

I will win by over 50,000 votes this time. I have been working in Hukkeri constituency for the past 30 years while Patil has not faced even two elections here. I have ensured overall development of Hukkeri, which is the only constituency where drinking water is  supplied round- the -clock to all. We have taken up a series of drinking water supply schemes over the past decade and as an MLA I have a strong connection with the people. I am confident it will be a one-sided election.

Will the Lingayat factor play a role in Hukkeri this time?

There are over a lakh Lingayat/Veerashaivas in Hukkeri constituency and both Patil and I are Lingayats. Patil may say he is a Lingayat and not Veerashaiva, but I say  I am a Lingayat-Veerashaiva. The caste factor will not play any role in this election, whether in Hukkeri or elsewhere as the Congress party has only raked up the Lingayat issue with an eye on the coming election.

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