BJP National President Shri JP Nadda is confident that the Bharatiya Janata Party will comeback with a thumping majority in Karnataka and break the trend of no party winning two consecutive terms since 1985. Shri Nadda also takes up other issues ralating to Karnataka elections. Excerpts of the interview published in ToI:
Since 1985, no party has come to power twice in a row in Karnataka. What makes you believe you will defy history?
We came to office in Tripura and Nagaland twice for the first time. In Goa, we came to office for the third time. In Uttarakhand, we came to office for the second time running. In Uttar Pradesh, we won four consecutive elections. Our biggest advantage is Modi ji’s personality. It has helped us earn people’s respect and given us courage to achieve the unprecedented. People see Modi ji as a vehicle of their aspirations. Secondly, the party has also been growing.
Several senior BJP leaders have joined Congress and JD(S). Seems like BJP is on a sticky wicket.
Since the Jana Sangh days, no leader who left the party has flourished. Secondly, leaving the party is one thing, what about the ideology? When you revolt ideologically, you are standing against a school of thought. So, surely, the loss will always be yours. Lot of thought went into ticket distribution. Some people are bound to be replaced. However, the party is galvanised, enthused and most people liked the party’s decisions.
Last time, you projected B S Yediyurappa as the chief ministerial candidate. This time, Basavaraj Bommai is the incumbent chief minister. But his name hasn’t been properly announced.
In the recent past, we haven’t made such announcements in other cases. These
We came to office in Tripura and Nagaland twice for the first time. In Goa, we came to office for the third time. In Uttarakhand, we came to office for the second time running. In Uttar Pradesh, we won four consecutive elections
things are decided by the parliamentary board. However, Bommai is the chief minister and we are fighting the election under his leadership.
The quota rejig, taking away the 4% of Muslim community and giving 2% each to Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities happened right before polls. Was it done in view of possible anti-incumbency?
No, the demand had been pending for a long time. We were examining the issue. Such matters are resolved after intense consultations. The Muslim quota was unconstitutional. The decision has been lauded across the board.
Congress has announced that it will reverse the decision if it is elected.
That has always been the Congress way, divide and rule. Also, Constitution does not allow religion-based quotas. How will they bring it back? But dividing people, polarising a community has been their habit.
Those who have left include senior Lingayats. Do you think that this will hurt your support among the community.
No, not at all. Lingayats or anyone else, people’s interest in BJP is only increasing. No party could give Lingayats what BJP has done. What did Congress do to Lingayat leader Veerendra Patil? They unceremoniously removed him in nine months.
Certain sections have condemned the decision to ban the radical Popular Front of India (PFI) as vindictive.
You don’t expect better from Congress. They always want to polarise. Congress patronised and indulged PFI and communal tensions grew under Siddaramaiah.
This campaign also marked Congress’s determined bid to win over Lingayats, an important ‘first’.
Who will listen to them? These are crocodile tears. We have not disrespected anyone. You humiliated a chief minister. We have a continuous process that senior leaders will move on to newer responsibilities. Didn’t Yediyurappa come back? If Shettar had stayed, his responsibilities would’ve changed. Eshwarappa’s responsibilities will change.
You have reached out to the Vokkaliga community but the history in the area has recorded a struggle between the Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities? Won’t it affect BJP?
That is not so. BJP has a powerful and credible ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ platform. We have a track record of safeguarding everyone’s interests. That’s why if we do something good for Lingayats, that is not at the expense of Vokkaligas and vice versa.
About the Prime Minister, you said that people have confidence in him. Congress members have categorically stated that they will focus on state-specific issues.
Such plans are a testimony to Modi ji’s appeal in Karnataka. People have realised that BJP under Modi ji is the best option for them.
There is a perception that a senior leader like Jagdish Shettar should have been obliged with a ticket considering his stature.
This was a conscious, considered opinion that we will give senior leaders different responsibilities. It is important that members understand this. Unfortunately, he couldn’t.
They said they were informed very late.
That’s the way it happens. I will say they didn’t have the maturity to understand the party’s decisions. Be it Anil Baluni or JP Nadda, we know and believe that those who make decisions about us will surely make right decision.
The opposition have been levelling many allegations against the government in Karnataka.
This is a malicious campaign against us. Not one case has been filed. Even the case against Eshwarappa was closed and he got a clean chit. Corruption is very much linked to Congress. They must answer on the Arkavathi layout scam, the recruitment scam, the land use change scam, teachers recruitment scam. Be it Siddaramaiah or DK Shivakumar, everyone knows about them. You would know about their head of media cell who in an unguarded moment blurted ‘our sahab takes 10-12% commission’.