Attracting votes from other parties just election time politics, not into caste politics: Shivakumar

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Bengaluru: A day after JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy accused Congress of trying to lure party workers ahead of the November 3 bypolls, its' Karnataka unit chief D K Shivakumar on Friday said inducting people from rival parties and attracting their votes was just "election-time politics."

Ruling out competition between him and Kumaraswamy for the Vokkaliga leadership, the dominant community to which both leaders belong to, he said he has never indulged in caste politics and for him, Congress was his only caste.

"...he (Kumaraswamy) has his party and we have ours. They (JDS) are doing their duty and we are doing ours," Shivakumar said in response to a question on the JD(S) leader's statement.

Speaking to reporters here, he said it is common for a political party during election time to try and attract the votes of rival parties.

"JD(S) tries to attract votes of Congress and BJP and similarly we will try to attract votes of the two parties."

Also if anyone from the other parties expresses willingness to join Congress, looking at their candidate, the party would take them in.

"This is what is happening, it is nothing but election time politics," he added.

Kumaraswamy on Thursday had alleged that Congress, which lacks a worker base in Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency, was trying to lure his party workers ahead of the bypolls.

To a question about competition between them to gain leadership of a community, considering people joining Congress are Vokkaliga leaders from JD(S), Shivakumar said he has never indulged in caste politics and for him his caste is Congress.

"Both my parents are Vokkaligas, so in my school application, it is mentioned that I'm a Vokkaliga. Also I'm an agriculturist by birth, which is the occupation of the community.

But now I'm a Congress President and we have a caste -- which is Congress.

Why should I speak about other castes? I don't like to speak about it," he said.

Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar), along with Sira assembly segment in Tumakuru, will go for the bypolls on November 3.

With both seats having considerable presence of Vokkaliga community, winning them is crucial for both leaders to consolidate their position in the community.

With the community seen as strong vote base of JD(S), Kumaraswamy is looking at keeping it intact.

Shivakumar, who is top leader in Congress from the community, is looking at consolidating his position within the party by winning these bypolls.

Winning R R Nagar is even more crucial for him as it comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency, represented by his brother D K Suresh.

In R R Nagar, Congress' Kusuma H is pitted against V Krishnamurthy of JD(S) and N Munirathna of the BJP.

In Sira, Congress has fielded former Minister T B Jayachandra against JD(S)' Ammajamma, the wife of late party MLA Sathyanarayana and Dr. Rajesh Gowda of BJP.

The Sira by-elections was necessitated following the death of JD(S) legislator B Sathyanarayana in August, while the Rajarajeshwari Nagar (R R Nagar) seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Congress MLA N Munirathna under the anti-defection law last year.


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