'People are aware Kumaraswamy has the wherewithal to address their issues'

NAT

A small group from rural Belgaum is in the waiting hall of a Bangalore guesthouse that H D Kumaraswamy uses as an office as well as a resting place. Some are aspirants for Janata Dal Secular tickets in the May 5 Karnataka polls.

On the first floor, Kumaraswamy, 53, is on the phone with a candidate in south Karnataka. "Tell the people about the things Kumaraswamy will do for them," says the JDS state president and former chief minister. "Please come and see me. I will tell you how to go about the elections."

Excerpts from an interview in which Kumaraswamy discusses these strategies:

How does the JDS hope to fare after the poor showing in 2008?

I have been in preparation mode for the last one year. I have visited 150 or more constituencies; in some I have visited 100 to 125 villages. In 150 constituencies we have already identified our candidates. In the next couple of days, during discussions with H D Deve Gowda (his father), we will finalise the candidates. We will hold a major rally involving at least 1,000 voters from each constituency. We will place before them our plans to address their dissatisfaction with the political system. We will come out with a manifesto within a week.

How would you assess the pre-poll mood of the people?

The mood according to me is one of demoralisation about the political system and the way elected representatives are behaving. Leaders think people will support any wrongdoing on community lines. That is not the situation. People are facing several problems, especially the farming community, youths and women. They are not expecting solutions to all their problems... they want simple things done and the government has not worked to their expectations.

How different is this election from 2008, held shortly after your tenure as CM?

... contd.

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