Udupi: “I am concentrating on winning elections and others who are criticizing me, should first concentrate on performing their duties,” said Jayaprakash Hegde, former MP Udupi-Chikmagalur LS constituency and an independent candidate for the upcoming Karnataka MLC elections. He was addressing a press meet at the Press Club Udupi here, on 15 December.
The disciplinary action initiated against him for contesting in the MLC elections should also have been taken against Pratap Chandra Shetty for not campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections and also in Gram Panchayat elections, he said. “Pratap Chandra Shetty was elected by local authorities and he was bound to campaign in the Gram Panchayat elections but he sat in his house, writing letters stating that he will not contest in the upcoming MLC elections. The KPCC should first initiate action against Pratap Chandra Shetty.”
“I have been actively involved in developing and promoting the party but Pratap Chandra Shetty finds no time to even attend party meetings. I was defeated in the MLA and LS polls but I still toured Udupi and Chikmagalur districts and addressed the problems. Pratap Chandra Shetty and Blasius D’Souza had contested for MLC elections during 2003 and I supported them then.”
“When the Varahi Irrigation Project was at its completion stage, Pratap Chandra Shetty staged a protest against the government but he remained silent for years when the project was being hindered. Then he raised slogans against Vinay Kumar Sorake and party leaders but no disciplinary action was initiated against him.”
“If the sitting MLCs were to be nominated again, the district Congress should have said so and we would have remained silent. We were asked to file applications and we filed them. Pratap Chandra Shetty had then said that he is not contesting elections as he wants second generation leaders in Congress to contest the MLC elections. That opportunity could have been given to second generation leaders, then why did he contest again?” he questioned.
“In politics, achievement matters more than power. I have not lobbied for any post and will not lobby for the same in future. The voters of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have always supported me and will support me in the future,” he added.
While ask if he would join JD(S) or BJP in the future, he replied that he enjoys being an independent candidate. “Independency has given me more power to effectively work towards the betterment of people. I appeal to the voters as to not to fear as there will be no disclosure of votes as rumored by some Congress leaders,” he added.
Taking a dig at Vinay Kumar Sorake’s statement that he has strengthened ties with BJP to create a mess in the MLC elections, he replied, “I entered the Congress as its leaders approached and the LS by-elections was a prelude to Congress’ victory in the state. I have worked loyally for the development of the party and hence, Sorake need not bother about my future steps in politics. I will remain an independent to fulfill the aspirations and hopes of the people.”
While asked whether he was confident of winning the elections, he confidently replied, “I am confident of winning the elections and will be ahead of Pratap Chandra Shetty by a margin of votes.”
Bhujanga Shetty said that the attitude of supremacy among senior leaders is ruining the Congress. “They are not even bothered to consult aspirants. I am ready to face any disciplinary action,” he added.