Gurme Suresh Shetty is known for his charity works in and around Udupi district. Born in a middle-class family, he faced many difficulties. However, this did not deter him. Today he is one of the famous hoteliers of Mumbai and Bellary. He is also a new entrant in politics and is making a good buzz in the political field. In an exclusive chat with KonkanConnect.com, Gurme Suresh Shetty opens up about his life and future plans:
Tell us about your early life?
I was born to Prabhakar Shetty and Padmavathi. My father’s native place is near Thirthalli. My mother is from Gurme near Kaup. I did not have a lavish childhood and I studied until PUC in Udupi. Later we shifted to Bellary, where I did my BCOM and LLB. I entered into the hotel business and am still into it.
You are known for your charity works. There is a saying in this region that no one goes empty handed from your house. What do you have to say regarding it?
I don’t think I am doing something great. I am doing whatever is possible from my side. As I already said, I faced many difficulties during my childhood. So I understand pain and hunger. When I left to Bellary, I just had a pair of dress. My father had lost land due to Land Reformation Act. So whenever needy needs help, I am always there for them. By god’s grace, I try to help how much ever possible.
You are hotelier by profession. What made you enter mining business?
I am not into mining business at present. I had been into mining business for two and half years. However I suffered losses and it is not commercially viable at present. I am into hotel business at present in Bellary and Mumbai.
What is your reason for entering politics?
Some of my friends forced me to join politics. They wanted me to enter politics as they believed I can do more good work if I get power in hand. I also thought that it is the right time to join politics as it will help people. I was contacted by senior Congress members to join Congress. They wanted me to stand for the 2013 assembly elections as MLA candidate for Kaup constituency. Initially, I was not inclined to join Congress party. However due to my friend’s pressure, I joined the party few months before the assembly elections.
For the 2013 assembly elections in the state, it was speculated that you the prime aspirant for the MLA ticket from Kaup constituency. However at the last moment, Vinay Kumar Sorake got the ticket. What happened all of a sudden?
I was shocked when High Command of Congress announced Vinay Kumar Sorake as the candidate. I was told that I will be getting the ticket until last moment. I was very upset.
After the assembly elections, you were not seen in any political activities. You stayed away from politics. However all of a sudden you left Congress and joined BJP. What made you join BJP?
I was very upset with the way I was treated in Congress. After the announcement of Sorake as Kaup MLA candidate, I was approached by BJP leaders to join BJP before the assembly elections. However I did not want to join any political party at that moment. Lok Sabha elections were held, wherein Narandra Modi won with thumping majority. I always admired Modi and was really happy with the way he ran the government. BJP leaders approached me again and I decided to join BJP.
What are your future plans in BJP? Are you planning to stand for elections?
I do not have any plans. Whatever party gives me responsibility, I will work towards it. I do not have any aspirations. I want to serve the people in whichever way possible.
If you are given a chance to stand as MLA candidate for next assembly elections from BJP in Kaup constituency, will you contest?
I will contest. As I said earlier, I will work in any capacity in BJP. If the party wants me to stand as MLA candidate, I will surely stand.
Do you prefer state politics or national politics?
I prefer state politics.
You still have some followers in Congress, who want you back in Congress. What do you have to say to them?
I know they are many who were disappointed with the way I was treated in Congress. However, I will never join Congress again.
How do you rate Vinay Kumar Sorake’s performance as Kaup MLA?
People are the one who should judge. I simply don't want to comment or give statements. I don't believe in criticizing politics.
How is the political atmosphere in BJP at present in Kaup constituency?
The political atmosphere is favorable to BJP at present. In the last Gram Panchayath elections, BJP swept the elections. From 26 gram panchayats in Kaup, BJP had a clear majority in 16. In remaining 3, there was a tie between Congress and BJP. Kaup is a constituency, wherein it’s elected representative is a minister. However, still the voters preferred us proving the pro-BJP wave in Kaup.
Will BJP win in Kaup constituency in next assembly elections?
Yes. I am sure we will win by a huge margin.
Tell us about your personal life?
I am married to Vijaya Shetty, who is a housewife. I have two children. My elder son Sourab Shetty is doing his final year engineering. My younger son Purab Shetty is studying in 6th standard. My family stays in Mumbai.
How do you manage your business, personal and political career?
I am very lucky as my two brothers manage the business. My wife is taking care of my family. So I do not have any pressure towards business and my personal life. I am only concentrating on my social and political activities.
What do you have to say to your followers?
I want them to help the needy. Please try to help the society as much as possible. It may not be in the form of cash or money. If we want to help, we can help needy in anyway possible. For instance, if there is any poor family near your house, who do not know anything about BPL card. Help them to get the BPL card, so that they can avail the benefits. Same way if there is any medical emergency, try to admit the person to hospital as soon as possible. All these don’t require money. It just needs a good heart. And those who are lucky enough with money, try to give monetary benefit to poor and needy. It’s a responsibility of every citizen to give back to society.