Soraba Assembly constituency in Shivamogga district is readying for a “battle of the brothers.” While actor- turned- politician, Kumar Bangarappa is contesting on a BJP ticket from the constituency, his brother and sitting MLA, Madhu Bangarappa is seeking re-election on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket. Shyam Sundar Vattam spoke to both about their strategy to win the May 12 Assembly poll
How are you preparing for the elections this time?
Well, everything is going smooth. I am meeting people of the constituency and seeking their support on the agenda of development drawn up by PM Narendra Modi , who has become an icon of the youth.
You are being described as a turncoat politician for joining the BJP.
I have joined the BJP mainly to complete all the development projects that I started here in 2004. The incumbent MLA and my brother has totally neglected the constituency and there is not an inch of development. Irrigation projects that I wanted to introduce have not seen any progress. The current Congress government has totally neglected the constituency, which was represented by my late father and former Chief Minister, S Bangarappa seven times.
Will the votes not be divided between you and your brother?
My brother Madhu won the previous election on a sympathy wave. He literally begged the people to elect him. Now, the people are disillusioned with him. The sympathy has vanished in thin air. Also, there were irregularities in allotment of Bagair Hukum land in Soraba.
Your brother alleges that you joined BJP because you have lost clout in the constituency.
This is not true. People are aware of the dirty games Madhu has played over the last five years. You just wait for May 15 and then see who will win. I am banking on the goodwill generated by my late father, who was one of the tallest leaders of the backward classes and worked for them till his last breath.
How confident are you this time?
I am very confident and have begun to feel like I have already won thanks to the love and affection showered on me during the campaign. As MLA, I managed to get funds from the government and spend on development of my constituency.
Will your brother, contesting on a BJP ticket, spoil your chances?
My brother, Kumar lost credibility the day he joined the BJP. What is his contribution to the constituency as minister? I don't want to talk about him anymore. The coming election should not be construed as a battle between brothers as Kumar is just my opponent and nothing more. My brother had no choice butto join the BJP as he was not wanted even by the Congress party. Like my father, I know nearly 70 per cent of the voters by name.
But won’t voters be confused whom to vote for, you or your brother?
Voters of Soraba are intelligent and they know my achievements as MLA. Kumar, after he lost the 2013 poll, did not come out of his shell and has totally lost touch with the constituency. My father wanted Kumar to become an actor and made me invest in producing his movies. But Kumar proved to be a loser both in politics and films.
What advantages do you enjoy?
My commitment to development and the goodwill for my father will help me a lot. Besides, having tried both national parties, people have now made up their minds to bring the JD(S) back to power in the state.
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