Congress leader RL Jalappa, who retired from politics in 2009, is now actively supporting M Veerappa Moily, the party candidate from the Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha constituency, where he is locked in a fierce electoral battle with the BJP’s BN Bachegowda and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.
Jalappa, four-time MP from Chikkaballapur and former Union minister for textiles in HD Devegowda’s cabinet, met his supporters and ward leaders at the RL Jalappa Institute of Technology (RLJIT), Doddaballapur, on Thursday and asked them to work for the Congress candidate.
Jalappa confirmed to National Standard that he has been reaching out to his supporters to help Moily win. “Moily had met me and asked for my support. I am still a Congressman and I have told my supporters to work for the party to help him win,” Jalappa said.
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He clarified, however, that he will not attend any campaigns. “I told Moily that I will not participate in any campaigns. But I will help through my supporters,” he added.
Chikkaballapur is a highly-watched battlefield this election, with big political names vying for the constituency. Sources said Moily, realising it wouldn’t be an easy fight this time, is pulling all possible strings to secure a win.
“Kumaraswamy first contested from Ramanagaram, then tried his luck by fielding his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy for both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections, and failed. Now he has come to Chikkaballapur and he will have to wait for his luck,” Jalappa said.
Jalappa represented the Chikkaballapur parliamentary constituency from 1996 to 2009, after which Moily took over. Jalappa was elected in 1996 from Janata Dal and in 1998, 1999 and 2004 from the Congress party. “I stopped contesting after I found the role of Vitamin M (money) increasing,” Jalappa said.