It’s ‘development’ versus young leader in Bagalkot

P C Gaddigoudar

It was past 9 pm when sitting Bagalkot MP P C Gaddigoudar of the BJP finished his speech to a group of party workers near Amingadh’s Banashankari temple ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on Thursday. He spoke to DH’s
B S Arun on his chances of retaining his seat for the fourth time. Excerpts:

You have been MP thrice. The issue of anti-incumbency must be bothering you.

Not at all. I have done enough work in the constituency for people to repose faith in me again. There is no anti-incumbency.

But many say your contribution is hardly noteworthy.

That’s wrong. Look at what I have brought to the constituency: a sum of Rs 260 crore has been spent for the Bagalkot-Kudchi new railway line, the project is yet to be completed because the state government is delaying handing over land; a Rs 403-crore Gadag-Hootgi railway doubling project has started; work sanctioned on four railway over bridges costing over Rs 110 crore;
sanction for new railway station in Bagalkot; starting of several new trains via Bagalkot; several new
national highways including Hyderabad-Goa Sagar Mala project; textile park besides several other infrastructure projects and social welfare programmes. I am working for an air strip for Bagalkot. If at all there is any setback in any of these projects, then state government is responsible for that.

But Opposition charges you are an invisible MP.

What can I say for that? I am not publicity-hungry, but people know what I have done for them, I am in direct touch with them. I am accessible.

It is said you are asking votes in Modi’s name and not for yourself.

I am asking vote for the work I have done as well as for what Modi has done for the country. Both will hold me in good stead.

Another charge against you is that you have not come to the farmers’ aid in connection with Kalasa-Banduri controversy and in rehabilitation of people affected by displacement in the district.

I can only blame the Opposition for that. The Kalasa-Banduri issue is in court. I will support fully if the state government prepares a project report and submits it to the Centre to increase the height of the Almatti dam and in the rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected families.

Congress candidate Veena Kashappanavar – the first ever woman candidate from a major party to fight the Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat - was in the midst of door-to-door campaign when DH met her. Hailing from the political family where her father-in-law, mother-in-law and husband all served in the legislature, the young Veena says: “I have a dream for this constituency and I want to realise this dream for change.”

She spoke to B S Arun of DH at the residence of Bagalkot district Mahila Congress committee president Rakshita Eiti who was herself a ticket aspirant. Excerpts:

Why should the voters elect you as MP?

I should be elected to carry forward the good work done by the state government in the last six years. And to ensure that the constituency sees some development under Central aid which did not happen in the last 15 years under the BJP MP.

What are your plans for the constituency?

I have worked as Zilla Panchayat president and I know the problem of each village; in many of them I have done Grama Vastavya by staying there. By our efforts, the district has become open defecation-free. People have seen that there was no development under the BJP government at the Centre. They want a change. And I will be the vehicle for change. There are many Central projects which the Union government or MP did not complete and I would like to work for their completion. Many projects have not moved a bit and the MP blames the state government for that. The Union government has a lot of schemes but the MP has failed to bring them to Bagalkot. He says vote Modi and not for him. Will Modi come here and improve conditions? I want to take up the Almatti dam and rehabilitation as a national project.

What about for women?

The number of men and women voters is nearly same here. Women number more in ZP. We need to bring a textile park to the district, Stree Shakti is a good scheme and there is a need to ensure it reaches the beneficiaries. Garment factory is required in each taluk. Because of demonetisation and GST, half of our textile mills are closed. We need to introduce vocational education and start labour-intensive industries to ensure jobs for youngsters. We need more engineering and medical colleges. I want to introduce Bagalkot district’s rich tourism potential to the world.

But youngsters are presumably behind Modi?

No. I am a youngster myself and I know that is not correct. Youth are behind me.

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It’s ‘development’ versus young leader in Bagalkot

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