In principle, I am against dynastic politics, says Kagodu Thimmappa

May 10, 2018

SAGARA: He is the oldest candidate in the fray, but 87-year-old Kagodu Thimmappadoes not appear to be too mindful of his age. In a political career that has lasted more than five decades, revenue minister and former assembly speakerKagodu, has seen more than his fair share of battles, and has lost none of his energy and determination, with which the voters of Sagar, the constituency he is contesting from this year, identified way back in 1962, when he fought the assembly elections for the first time. This is Kagodu’s 11th assembly election, and although he has been forced to truncate his campaigns, his determination to resolve what he calls ‘unfinished’ business that drives him to campaign from 10am to 2pm, despite the blazing heat. In an interview to The Times of India, Kagodu, who had stated that the 2013 elections would be his last, said he reconsidered his decision owing to the lack of able candidates in the constituency. Excerpts:
You are contesting the election for the 11th time. Is this your toughest or have there been more difficult contests in the past?

The 2013 election was the toughest, and the reason was that there was communal discord in the region, and I was absent here during that period. The installation of communal tension in my constituency, along with the stone-throwing incident in Sagar led to a serious crisis. My absence from the constituency made it harder for me to control the situation.

Prior to this year’s elections, you had categorically said that you did not want to contest…

My age was the major factor behind my decision to avoid another contest. I have been a public servant for nearly 40 years now. I was hoping to have a private life at least in my old age. But there are no strong candidates in the region to take my place, and address certain issues, including my daughter, who does not have an iota of political experience. Furthermore, Congress has always been a mass party and not a cadre-based organisation, which has resulted in a lack of good leaders.

So, what is your take on dynastic politics?

In principle, I am against it. I do not believe in it, unless the prodigy has the abilities to contest in politics. If I were the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, I would have shown how to deal with dynastic politics.

So, at this age, what drives you to contest?

I have some unfinished business. I am committed to solving some of the problems plaguing Shivamogga and Sagar, in particular. I want to ensure proper water supply to these constituencies. Barring two segments, none of the other taluks have adequate supply of water for irrigation. I also need to complete some work on land reforms. These are the issues driving me at this age.

Even if you win the polls, and the Congress returns to power again, what is the guarantee that you will still be given charge of the revenue department?I have all the capabilities, and ‘insurance’ to ensure my induction into the cabinet if the Congress comes back to power.
So, what do you think is lacking among the younger generation of Congress leaders, which appears to dwarf them before you?

It’s simply commitment. If there is commitment, the younger generation will succeed in becoming successful public servants.