Once reluctant, this Gowda set to take on BJP’s Gowda

Once reluctant, this Gowda set to take on BJP’s Gowda

Bengaluru North Congress candidate Krishna Byre Gowda (right) takes a break from campaigning at the Rachenahalli Lake in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH photo

Candidates spend months, if not years, nurturing electoral prospects in a constituency. But Krishna Byre Gowda had just about three weeks to prepare when he was announced the Congress’ candidate for Bangalore North, despite his reluctance to contest.

Now in poll mode, Krishna, or KBG as he is referred to, is confident of becoming a ‘giant killer’ by defeating BJP’s Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.   

“I was not keen and yes, it was a last-minute decision. But once you contest, you contest to win. I’m here to win,” Krishna says amid hectic canvassing. His campaign on Tuesday began with a visit to the serene Rachenahalli lake where he interacted with fitness enthusiasts.

Racing against time, Krishna’s team stitched up a ‘With You, For You’ campaign with his techie wife Meenakshi Seshadri also pitching in.

The Bangalore North seat was initially given to the JD(S). It was ceded to the Congress after JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda chose to contest from Tumkur. “We’ve a massive, widespread and deeply-ingrained cadre of both parties. I’m depending on them and the goodwill I enjoy among people who’ve seen me work in Bengaluru the last ten years as a legislator, agriculture minister and now the minister for rural development,” Krishna says.

The constituency

The constituency has eight Assembly segments - five held by the Congress and two JD(S). This includes Byatarayanapura which Krishna represents. In the May 2018 Assembly polls, Congress bagged about 6.20 lakh votes and the JD(S) about 3.53 lakh votes. This forms the base for Krishna’s contest. His opponent, Sadananda Gowda is also a Vokkaliga, but a coastal one that.

This is Krishna’s second Lok Sabha attempt. In 2009, he lost to BJP’s Ananth Kumar from Bangalore South. “South is a little more traditional, whereas North is far more cosmopolitan,” Krishna says. “North continues to be the dynamic part of Bengaluru.”

3-pronged strategy

Krishna’s campaign strategy is three-pronged- failures of the Modi government, the UPA’s performance and the anti-incumbency of the current MP. “The incumbent was hardly seen here, he wasn’t accessible and there was little effort from him that contributed to the city.”

The US-educated leader asserts that he is ready for national politics. “I’ve credibility for delivering results. I'm confident I can make a meaningful contribution in Parliament and be a strong voice for Bengaluru,” he says. “I might appear soft on the surface, but that doesn't mean I don't have a hard core.”