BENGALURU: “These days, if one needs a ticket to contest Assembly elections, or if a legislator aspires to become a minister, they have to go to Delhi for approval. If such was the case in the earlier days, forget becoming Chief Minister, I would not even have become MLA,’’ senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said.
Moily was speaking at ‘Maneyangaladalli Maathukathe’, an interaction programme organised by Department of Kannada and Culture on Saturday. Narrating about his entry to politics, Moily said he did not have any interest in politcs.
“It was D Devaraj Urs who kindled my interest. I was an advocate working for the poor who would often become victims of atrocity by land owners. Urs tempted me to join politics with the Land Reform Act which he wanted to bring. That attracted me and I got the MLA ticket at a small place in Dakshina Kannada where I was practising. These days, such a thing cannot even be imagined. Once you enter politcs, it’s difficult to come out,” he said.
Moily said in the 1970s, he was made minister after serving as MLA for two years. “I was only one MLA from my caste. When I became CM in 1992, I was backed by Vokkaliga and Lingayat MLAs who were more in number,’’ he said.
‘I started revolting when I was four’
Moily, who disclosed that his original name was Giriyappa, said, “When my mother went to admit me to a school, though my mother said ‘Giriyappa’, the teacher entered it as Veerappa and gave the second name Moily, which is my caste, in the records. It was he who came up with my birth date. This is how they treated backward class people. When I was just four years old, the land owner came to throw us out of the house. That was the first time I raised a rice bowl to throw at them. On another occasion, I touched a Shivalinga inside a temple and the entire temple was washed later. We were insulted every now and then, people used to enjoy it. That fire inside me made me what I am today,’’ he said.
‘They tried to kill me’
“Soon after I started practising law, I started working for the landless poor. One day, a mother-son duo came to me seeking legal help. I told them that I would not take up their case and advised them to stand up for their rights. Fifteen days later, they returned to me after having sorted out their problem. The woman would look out against trouble even after I became CM. As an advocate, when I was fighting for the poor, some people tried to run a lorry over me and once even got me to consume poison. But poor people stood by me and saved me. Because of them, I won the election with just `5000,” Moily recalled.