Journo Pratap Simha confident of winning Mysore-Kodagu
Shreyas H S
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore
Mangalore, Mar 16: “Most of the serious readers of my write-ups hail from Mysore-Kodagu constituency. Both these places are urbanised and have an educated populace which might pave the way for my strong political debut,” said journalist-turned-politician Pratap Simha who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Mysore on BJP ticket.
In an exclusive interview to daijiworld over the phone, Simha, who spoke more like a politician after his maiden entry, also felt that Mysore-Kodagu is a challenging constituency as Mysore is the home turf of chief minister Siddaramaiah. Moreover, Congress is ahead of the BJP there - in fact the BJP had been pushed to the third place in the last Assembly elections. In terms of votes, BJP in the last Assembly elections had a 2.5 lac deficit that now needs to be covered in a short span of time.
When asked about his aspirations to contest from Udupi-Chikmagalur district, he said Congress candidate in the constituency Jayaprakash Hegde is a tough opponent who enjoys much popularity, and hence chances of losing the battle are more as compared to the current Mysore constituency given to him. “Yes, my name did make the rounds in Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency, but I am very happy with the party's decision to field me from Mysore-Kodagu," he said.
On his strength and weaknesses, he admitted, "Time constraint that I am encountering is a key weak factor as against my counterpart in Congress." He retreated that BJP was facing bitter times in Mysore which is also a setback and stressed that he needs to work hard to bring about a total turnaround.
As for his strengths, Simha says these Mysore and Kodagu have many urban voters, who are serious readers of his columns. “I am confident that I can convince the voters and fulfil their hopes and aspiration," he said.
In all likelihood the political scenario and equations would change, with educated residents of the constiteuncy preferring BJP in this LS elections for its developmental mantra, he said. "Moreover, I belong to the Vokkaliga community, which also play a major factor since the region comes under the Vokkaliga belt. Even as the opposition parties use many tactics, there are traditional BJP voters who will support me," he explained.
Journalism to politics
Hailing from the media fraternity, Simha says M J Akbar and Arun Shourie inspired him the most to enter the political arena. On the other hand, the changing political scenario has also played a pivotal role in making the decision. He also made it clear that his passion for writing will not be buried even though he has now become a politician.
Admitting that he has only made a small study on his constituency so far, Simha said, "As Narendra Modi wants to give a face-lift to Indian Railways, I too have a dream of introducing Bullet Train to Mysore. In addition, airways needs to upgraded by regularising the arrival of most number of flights in Mysore airport."
He said he would utilize the entire MP fund to widen the roads in an attempt to bring a new look to both the places. "In Periyapatna, tobacco growers are facing serious problems, but the government is not willing to listen to their grievances. Hence if I become the MP I would strongly demand the government to extend good support price for the benefit of the growers. He said he also has many developmental ideas for the agricultural sector, since his life was rooted in agriculture before journalism."
'No opposition within the party'
Rubbishing talks about shifting of his candidature to Hassan, he said, "I was chosen by the BJP national leaders as a candidate from the Mysore-Kodagu constituency. There is no question of the party relocating me to Hassan. I visited my constituency and I am happy that I was received with all dignity," he said.
Further speaking on the question of opposition his candidature has raked within the party, he said, "There is no opposition currently after my visit to the constituency. All party workers will work with me and I will join hands to pitch a strong campaign to ensure that BJP will not taste bitter luck this time."