Drinking water woes my top agenda: Chikkangoudar

BJP's S I Chikkangoudar, who lost the 2018 Assembly election by a slender margin of 634 votes, is going all out to capture his lost fiefdom. Being a Lingayat, Chikkangoudar is banking heavily on the Lingayat voters, who constitute a major chunk here. Chikkangoudar shares his agenda with DH. Excerpts:

On what plank are you fighting this election?

People of the constituency are well aware of the contributions of the BJP, when it was in power in 2008. The taluk was considered a backward region and did not have good roads. Nearly Rs 700 crore was utilised for creating infrastructure, providing drinking water and increasing the standard of living of the people. This election too, the BJP is focusing on development issues.

You have lost two elections (2013, 2018) in a row. What makes you contest the bypoll?

In 2013, the BJP was divided after B S Yeddyurappa floated KJP. Being an ardent follower of Yeddyurappa, I had to quit BJP and join KJP. Division of votes between the BJP and KJP helped the Congress win. In 2018, KJP merged with the BJP and a collective effort was made to win the seat. However, I lost the election by a narrow margin of 634 votes. The BJP high command was confident on my candidature and gave me the chance again.

If elected, what will be your priority?

Drinking water problem and unemployment dog the constituency. During the last 10 years of Congress rule, the constituency has not witnessed any major development. For me, top priority will be to get Tungabhadra river water to Kundgol and refill some of the water bodies. Already, the Tungabhadra water project has reached Laxmeshwar and it will be extended to Kundgol.

Will sympathy factor play a decisive role in the bypoll?

I have 10% more sympathy than the Congress candidate as voters are upset that I lost narrowly in 2018.

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