In the run-up to 2018 Karnataka assembly election, BJP spokesperson MalavikaAvinash in a candid telephonic conversation with Harsha Raj Gatty, speaks of the poll prospects of the BJP and the party's stand on projecting BS Yeddyurappa as BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate.
How does the BJP see its prospects in the upcoming 2018 assembly polls?
Karnataka is our strong hold in South India – BJP formed its first government in South India here. We are yet to forma government in any other state in south India. There are altogether 224 constituencies and the party will contest all of them. BJP does not believe in underhand politics like the Congress and JDS. The goal set for us by state BJP party president B. S. Yeddyurappa is victory in 150+ constituencies which will come from both South and North Karnataka. For us it is mission 150.
Could you give us more specifics about your campaign – How will you reach out to voters across the state?
We are definitely strong in North Karnataka and Bengaluru. Perhaps, we have to pickup in old Mysore region – we have already begun our work of strengthening our party over there. As the election dates near we will know who the candidates are… As far as Dakshina Kannada is our stronghold and gateway to Karnataka.
Elections will happen early next year and BJP is fully prepared. Two to three candidates have already been shortlisted for each of the 224 constituencies...The voters may see many new faces from our party (drawn from the cadre base). There may also be a substantial number of women candidates although it is left to the Central leadership and the core committee of the state to draw up the final list. But at this point we cannot reveal specifics.
Will the BJP drumbeat the incumbency of the Congress? Will that be the core part of its campaign?
No, on the contrary –a proactive effort will be made by the BJP to comeback to power rather than banking on the failure of the Congress. Being a cadre based party, we have our regular organizational activity, which we are doing at the booth level – which will help achieve our goal silently. It’s not a top down party, it’s a bottom-up party, where even an average party member in this party can become a Prime minister that is the kind of organizational structure we have. PM Narendra Modi is not the son of a PM, he is not born in a rich family, he is not from any dynastic family where politics is in the blood. Similarly even Yeddyurappa, comes from a very humble background.
Could you throw some light on the thought process that ended up with the projection of Yeddyurappa as the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face for 2018 assembly election?
He is the party’s president and he has been named the Chief Ministerial candidate by the central leadership, so we go with that, there is no confusion, there is no space for any kind of confusion. He has started his state tour and will be visiting every single district of this state.
We are very confident of coming to power in 2018 under B. S. Yeddyurappa and we are doing everything towards that. Yeddyurappa has chosen to visit every district to find out where the government has failed and where BJP can fix the situation.
When we talk about Yeddyurappa, we cannot miss his fallout with the party in 2012 and the effect it had on the party in the state. Don’t you think his projection as the CM candidate will have some effect on the morale of the party’s loyal cadre and voter base that may eventually problematic for the party during polls ?
2013… is a story of the past, today the BJP stands united with its leader Yeddyurappa.
What about the alleged feud between BJP President and the BJP Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council KS Eshwarappa?
Too much has been read into it. It has been blown out of proportion. There are opinions and counter opinions. But there is absolutely no dispute or confusion about Yeddyurappa’s leadership. I think Eshwarappa has clarified repeatedly several times. There will be differences of opinion in any political party especially in the case of BJP, since we believe in internal democracy. Our party is not like Congress where one Gandhi family calls the shots.
We understand that Yeddyurappahas already started his campaign across the state including in the drought affected districts?
The State has not seen a drought like this from last 30 years, is what CM Siddaramaiah is himself saying. In situations like this, people are desperate, the farmers are desperate… Nearly 2000 farmers have committed suicide in Karnataka in the last four years.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi does not bother to visit, even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, In-charge Minister’s, officers don’t visit the drought affected areas.For instance if you visit Aralikatte Hundi village, which is in Nanjanagud Taluk Mysore rural, the entire village in CM constituency is empty.
Yeddyurappa is not only visiting the drought affected areas, but also non-affected districts. He is not doing this for the election, he is doing this to understand and project the ground reality to the people of the state.