Mangaluru: General Secretary and spokesperson of District Congress, Harikrishna Bantwal held a press meet at Hotel Woodlands here, on December 7.
Speaking to the mediapersons he said that he had decided to contest for the upcoming MLC election as an independent candidate. “I have worked 43 years for Congress,” he said. He said that he belonged to the ‘hardworking’ class of Congress party. He has worked as an efficient speaker for the party. He claimed that, Ramanth Rai the Minister for Environment, Forest and Ecology had said that Dakshina Kannada needed a candidate from backward class and said that Harikrishna was a “genuine candidate” for the post. Former Union Minister Janardhan Poojary had also asked Harikrishna to send his bio data to field him as a candidate, he said.
Speaking against Prathapchandra Shetty, the candidate fielded by Congress he said that Prathap had previously issued a circular saying that he would not contest any more election. He had now turned down on his own word by standing as a candidate for this election. “If Congress had not chosen Prathapchandra Shetty as a candidate, I would never contest this election. Congress needs to field a hardworking candidate from the backward class. Backward class is the back bone of Congress. Without their support congress will not stand,” he said.
He further said, “Kallige Taranath Shetty, Arun Coelho and I have worked hard for the welfare of the Congress party but we have been neglected by the senior party leaders. Those who have worked hard for the party should be given the opportunity to contest the elections. In the 43 years of my political career, we did not take any financial help from any senior leaders. I have spent my own hard earned money to support our senior leaders. I did not ask for financial help from Oscar, Moily, Poojary or anyone else because it is my commitment to the Congress party.”
“If the Congress will not give me a ticket to contest the MLC elections, I will contest independently. If the Congress party is built by Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, I will build a separate party. I have sufficient hard earned money to spend and build a party,” he added.
He said that Dakshina Kannada had high number of voters but had no able candidates. “Dakshina Kannada district has produced many able engineers, doctors and scientists. It is time that the district produces able leaders too,” he said. “I will withdraw my candidature if Congress fields any other hardworking and able candidate,” he added. He thanked Poojary and Ramanath Rai for showing confidence in him. He said that it was against Poojary’s wish that he was contesting against Congress.
“Instead of living as a ‘Handi’ (pig) for hundred years, it is better to live as a ‘Nandi’ (cow) for three years. I am a fighter and I follow in the footsteps of Brama Guru Narayana Swamy. Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has chosen Pratapchandra Shetty for the upcoming MLC polls. If the Congress party will not withdraw the nomination of Pratapchandra, I will contest as an independent candidate. If the Congress will give the ticket to Jayaprakash Hegde to contest the MLC election, I will not file my nomination and instead I will support him,” he added.
He said that there are many issues the district faced. If he won the election, he would speak against issues like the ‘Yettinahole’ project. Arun Coelho, Shashiraj Shetty Kolambe, Purandaradas Kuloor and Kallige Taranath Shetty were also present.