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JD(S) to focus on party record

Special Correspondent

`My party leaders and I will not attack the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi; the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh; or the former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party candidate, S. Bangarappa'

BANGALORE: The Janata Dal (Secular), which is fighting the Shimoga Lok Sabha and Chamarajpet Assembly byelections to be held on June 2 against, among others, its partner in the Government, the Congress, has been careful while referring to the record of the coalition Ministry. To get over the tricky situation, it is appealing to the electorate in the two constituencies to judge its candidates on the basis of the record of the Janata Dal Government in the State during 1994-99 and the programmes and policies of the party today.

The party president and former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, on Saturday released two booklets on the party's record and assurances, which are in the form of a mini-manifesto.

Mr. Gowda told presspersons that party leaders will observe restraint during the campaign. They will not indulge in personal attacks on the leaders of other parties. Instead, the campaign will focus on the contributions of the party to the people of Shimoga and Chamarajpet in the past. "My party leaders and I will not attack the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi; the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh; or the former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party candidate, S. Bangarappa," he said.

The party leaders and JD(S) Ministers will undertake a door-to-door campaign and distribute booklets to voters on the contributions of the JD(S) for the development of Shimoga and Chamarajpet constituencies, he said.

The 13-page booklet on the Shimoga Lok Sabha byelection highlights the contribution of the Janata Dal Government to the district when Mr. Deve Gowa and J.H. Patel were the Chief Ministers (1994-99). It refers to the Rs. 600-crore assistance from the Centre when Mr. Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister for the revival of the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Company at Bhadravati, which was then on the verge of closure.

Over 14,000 acres of forest land in the Malnad region, which was being cultivated by farmers, was regularised under the Forest Act and 20 new sugar factories were set up in various districts, including Shimoga, during 1996-97 when Mr. Deve Gowda was the Chief Minister.

It was during the rule of Mr. Gowda that the gauge conversion work on the Birur-Shimoga-Talaguppa and Talaguppa-Honnavar lines was taken up at a cost of Rs. 350 crores and Rs. 200 crores respectively, the booklet states.

Govt. policies

The booklet also focuses on some of the "pro-people" policies adopted by the present JD(S)-Congress Government such as reduction of interest on cooperative loans, increase in the amount of foodgrains distributed to families below the poverty line, the Rs. 68-crore pacakge for weavers, ban on online lottery, and the regularisation of 1.35 lakh illegal irrigation pumpset power connections.

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