MYSURU: After putting up a unity show with his old political foe and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, it will be testing times ahead for former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to bring both the Congress and JD(S) workers together for the bypolls. Sensing that the task will be difficult in old Mysuru, particularly Mandya Lok Sabha seat, the former chief minister has deputed his close associates H C Mahadevappa and K J George in Mandya to keep the workers together. In Mandya, many party workers believe that Congress may lose its identity if they work with JD(S) in the November 3 bypolls.
Meanwhile, the senior leaders have started making efforts to convince local leaders and grassroots-level workers on the need to fight the battle against BJP together. Sidddaramaiah, who has admitted that it will be a tough task to convince the party workers, has decided to tour Mandya. He will be campaigning in Mandya and K R Nagar on October 24 to exhort Congress cadres to join hands with JD(S) for a ‘bigger cause’.
Asked whether this will hamper the party’s prospects in the long run, Siddaramaiah said they have a larger objective of defeating BJP and they will try their best to win the bypolls.
“Joining hands with the JD(S) is the decision of the party high command and Rahul Gandhi, and it should be abided by all,” he added. He further reiterated that JD(S)-Congress will win all the five seats, including JD(S) in Shivamogga, Mandya and Ramanagara. “Congress will comfortably win in Jamkhandi and Ballari. I will start campaigning from Ballari on October 22 and subsequently tour Shivamogga, Jamkhandi and Shivamogga between October 25 and November 1,” Siddaramaiah said.
Though, former ministers and legislators have maintained a low profile in Mandya district Congress, there is also pressure on them to ensure a good turnout during Siddaramaiah’s campaign.
‘BJP should come out of illusion’
On BJP leaders accusing Siddaramaiah of losing his charisma and the opposition party in the state claiming to sweep the bypolls, Siddaramaiah said, “Are voters in Yeddyurappa’s pocket? Why did Shobha Karandlaje, who contested from Rajajinagar, not win the polls? The BJP should come out of illusions.”
‘BJP’s deadlines are over, govt stable’
Ruling out any threat to the coalition government, Siddaramaiah said that the Congress-JD(S) government is stable. “BJP’s deadlines on stability of the government have already passed,” he remarked.