Shreyas H S
Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi
Udupi, Mar 24: Jayaprakash Hegde, who has been MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency for two years now, is a well-loved politician, not only for his pro-development outlook but also for the simple and non-controversial image he has been able to maintain throughout his public life.
As he gears up for yet another battle, daijiworld caught up with him in the midst of his busy schedule for an exclusive interview, during which he spoke on a wide range of subjects including strategy, development, his opponents and the popular Modi wave.
"My sole agenda as a contender will be to display the graph of inclusive development undertaken during my short tenure of one year and ten months," he said.
As an MP, he says he has constantly been in touch with people, responding to their pleas and being there whenever they needed him. Despite the fact that he had comparitively less time to materialize his plans for the district, he managed to tap both the state and central government to give a facelift to the region. J P Hegde is confident that the developmental works carried out during his tenure would turn into votes yet again and enable him to continue as MP to work more vociferously in the constituency.
Further delineating the development works he has initiated, Hegde said additional trains have been started conceding to the demands of the people of Udupi, Chikmagalur and DK (Mangalore Central - Madgaon Inter-city Express, Mangalore-Kachiguda biweekly Express, and Mangalore-Bhatkal DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit)). He took the initiative to push the delayed NH 66 road widening project which is currently progressing at a good pace. "I persuaded the authority and the company concerned to resume the work that had been stopped owing to a few problems," he said.
He also said he has put in efforts to resolve the problems of areca growers, even appealing to the government to hike the price of areca. "The UPA also extended a support price of Rs 1,000 for paddy growers. I also focused on irrigation and got approval for several irrigation projects," Hegde said. Moreover, he has utilized the MP fund to the fullest during his limited tenure.
He added that he plans to focus on eco-tourism, coastal tourism and industries that are eco-friendly to generate employment.
Modi wave and anti-incumbency factor
Asked what he thought of the 'Modi wave' and if it would be a factor in his constituency, the sitting MP said, "The better word to use for Modi wave across the nation including Udupi-Chikmagalur is a 'poor dependency' of BJP on a single man, a failure to consolidate the capability of other candidates in the fray."
Terming Modi wave as a 'pseudo wave' he said, "It is unfortunate that BJP candidates have to depend on Modi to galvanize support in their constituencies."
On the anti-incumbency factor of Congress at the national level that may have an adverse impact in most of the constituencies as against the local issues prevailing in the place, he denied such factors and said, "People turn out to vote taking note of local issues and not the other speculations that are rife in most of the sections of media. They consider the credibility and judge the capability of a candidate. Even in my constituency the same electoral phenomenon would work and given my commitment and work, I am in ahead of my opponents in the political war."
Taking on his opponents, Shobha Karandlaje of BJP and Dhananjay Kumar of JD(S), J P Hegde said, "I am not worried about my opponents as I am confident of winning the hearts and minds of the voters."
Meticulously commenting on his opponents he expressed that he would not target any candidate and stick to the political principle of contesting the elections solely on the developmental agenda. He will soon release a book that provides a list of developmental works undertaken during his tenure. Adding to this, he will also put up his manifesto to let people know his vision for the next term.
On whether Congress' idea of holding primaris and issuing tickets to youth cadre had proved costly, with the partly likely to lose some of its senior leaders in the state, he defended the move and said, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi believes in distribution of democracy. "This would not be understood immediately since the rejuvenating impact will take some days to strengthen the party," he said. He tried to downplay reports of Jaffer Sharief being unhappy with the party.
On the issue of communal violence in his constituency, he said he put in complete efforts to maintain law and order. Though law and order in Udupi-Chikmagalur comes under the ambit of state government, he in such incidents contacted police and MLAS to bring the situation under control, he said. He further said he is not against any religion, and his only aim is to maintain peace without allowing anyone to disturb the harmony.
Finally speaking on the speculations surrounding Shobha Karandlaje's recent visit to Independent MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty seeking support to her candidaure, J P Hegde expressed confidence that Halady would remain neutral in the forthcoming elections since he its not in his nature to change his stance. "He clarified his decision before journalists after his meet. I will take on my opponents on development agenda and not with behind-the-scene drama as other parties in the constituency," he asserted.
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