Once a right-wing idealogue whose primary claim to fame was authoring two books on Narendra Modi, journalist turned MP Pratap Simha now seems a much mellowed man who places development -- and the prime minister -- at the centre of his political discourse.
The BJP MP from Mysore, who won the last election on the Modi wave, talks mostly of his contribution in developing the area and of the benevolence of the prime minister in sanctioning dozens of central projects for the constituency.
"Modi has sanctioned development works worth Rs 13,000 crore in less than five years... Between 2004 and 2014, this region gave many Congress MPs and chief ministers but I alone brought investment several hundreds of crores," Simha told PTI in an interview.
The 43-year-old is hoping his hard work coupled with the youth's fascination for Modi will get him through again.
The Mysore parliamentary seat, which goes to the polls on Thursday, is locked in a direct contest between Simha, who credits his entry into politics to Modi, and Congress' C H Vijayashankar, a close associate of former chief minister Siddaramaiah.
In his public rallies, Simha is seeking credit for various plans, including extension of a runway to 2.8 km, a satellite railway station, a 10-lane highway from here to Bangalore and six new trains.
Simha started his career with the Kannada paper Vijaya Karnataka in 1999. His column promoting Hindutva brought him into focus and his two books on Modi that followed paved the way for his entering the BJP fold.
In 2014, Simha wanted to contest from Hassan against former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. But the party fielded him from Mysore where he was initially seen as an outsider.
"When I was an outsider, people voted with for me with an huge margin. Now I have toiled hard for the past five years and people recognise my worth and effort, thereby making this election a cakewalk," he said confidently.
Looking back at his term as MP, Simha said, "The Mysore airport was non-functional five years ago. Today, we have half a dozen flights to an important destination and I am working to improve connectivity further so that national carriers can include Mysore once the runway is extended."
He has been appealing to voters to re-elect him as he needs at least three more years to complete all the projects that he started to make Mysore a centre for investment, employment and a hub for commercial activity.
His loyalty to the prime minister is total.
"Who am I without Modi? But it is not as if I have any personal equation other than being a BJP worker. Modiji has the same equation with all workers and his only yardstick for proximity is the work."
Of the eight assembly segments in the Mysore parliament constituency, four are held by the BJP, three by the JD(S) and one by the Congress.
According to Simha, hiccups in the JD(S)-Congress relationship has meant that the Congress candidate is not receiving the support he expected.
"Siddaramaiah has been back-stabbing the JD(S). So it is obvious that JD(S) will seek revenge from Congress specially since the candidate is considered very close to Siddaramaiah," Simha said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)