Shimoga: The Shimoga parliamentary constituency has been drawing people’s attention ever since Geetha Shivrajkumar, daughter of former chief minister S Bangarappa, was fielded by the JD(S) to take on the BJP candidate B S Yeddyurappa.
She is seeking the mandate from the people to inherit her father’s legacy. Along with her actor husband Shivrajkumar, Geetha has been canvassing extensively in the district. Deccan Herald had an exclusive interview with the couple at a restaurant in Shimoga. While Geetha answered some questions, Shivrajkumar took the others.
What prompted you to take up this challenge?
Geetha: Earlier, it was decided to field my mother (Shakuntala) as the JD(S) candidate. But we had to drop the idea given her illness. Then she asked my husband to allow me to contest. I made up my mind after discussing it with my husband. So, I have come in place of my mother.
Why did you feel your wife is the right choice?
Shivrajkumar: I often felt she is a good manager. She has been successfully managing my film projects, household work and daughters’ education for the last several years.
Besides, she comes from political background, and had closely observed her father’s political career. When the opportunity came, I felt it is my duty to encourage her to take up the new venture. Nobody is born with experience.
Mamata Banerjee, J Jayalalitha and Sushma Swaraj have all proved that women are equally capable of reaching greater heights in politics. Besides, entering politics is not a crime. Some people asked me if it is okay to enter politics. I feel one should have a good heart to serve people and experience comes next.
What are the major problems in this constituency?
Geetha: I feel road connectivity to rural areas is not good. Some villages in Sagar taluk do not have roads at all. People living in rural areas face drinking water shortage, power problem, etc. Then there are the woes of ‘bagair hukum’ cultivators and areca growers. Areca cultivation has been the source of livelihood for a large number of people in the district. So, their problems should be solved on a priority basis.
Both of you have been drawing huge crowds. How do you rate your chances?
Geetha: I am confident but I am not going to be overconfident. I have received overwhelming response from people even when I campaigned in his (Shivrajkumar’s) absence. It is evident that people have the highest regard for my father. I’ve been able to reach out to more people when my husband is around.
Did you feel the voters’ pulse during campaigning?
Shivrajkumar: That’s an uphill task. But people turned up in large numbers to see me and other film stars during our campaigning. I believe it’s quite natural. I hope and pray the crowd would turn into votes. Everything has a beginning in life. This is a new experience for us.
How did your daughters react when they learnt about your electoral battle? (The couple smile)
Geetha: My elder daughter (Nishkala) was highly supportive and asked me to go ahead. But the younger daughter (Niveditha) did take some days to come to terms with the fact that her mother is going into something different. She asked me not to accept this challenge under pressure.
She said, ‘if you like it, go ahead.’ Now, both of them are supportive. Both were disturbed when the media started making a hue and cry about the electoral battle. But they never told me to give up without putting up a fight.
Do you feel you should have joined a national party, rather than the JD(S)?
Geetha: No. I embraced the JD(S) as my father was associated with it during the last phase of his political career.
Besides, this is the party that gave a recognition to my brother (Madhu) in politics. He is Sorab MLA. That’s why I decided to join the JD(S). I don’t regret it.
Will differences in the family impact the results?
Shivrajkumar: I don’t think so. Besides, we do not have any guilt feelings. Face is the index of your mind. I can’t pretend to be good at heart. People might say several things. We should ignore them and focus only on the goal. Our aim is to do something good for the people.