“BJP Will Win 20 To 21 Seats In Karnataka”
“Designation or not, I am contributing in my own way to ensure that the BJP wins maximum number of seats in order to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister. It is the call of destiny that we strive to fulfill this historical national duty,” former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa told S A Hemantha Kumar, Special Correspondent, over phone from his home town of Shikaripur in Shimoga district.
Yeddyurappa is contesting the parliamentary elections from Shimoga constituency and is pitted against Geeta Shivarajkumar, daughter of former chief minister the late S Bangarappa and daughter-in-law of hero of Kannada tinsel world the late Dr Rajkumar. He is also facing Manjunath Bhandary of the Congress.
Despite being street-smart and an expert in the art of winning elections, Yeddyurappa, however, humbly said, “I will never consider my opponents as weak and will not look at them with contempt. They deserve all my respects. I have been in public life for the last five decades. I can say with authority that no two elections are same and every election is a challenge. There is no question of being complacent or over-confident and I will not leave anything to chance.” He further said: “Ultimately people are the masters. They will decide what needs to be done.” Excerpts:
Are you feeling suffocated after your return to BJP? It looks like that you are not happy.
Not at all. I am in my home. Yes, the pain of having left the home will be there but I have learnt to say let bygones be bygones. Moreover, I have taken this development—return to BJP—philosophically. Destiny wanted me to work for Modi and hence I am here once again. I am happy that I am contributing in my own way. I had been to almost 16 Lok Sabha constituencies apart from campaigning in my own constituency of Shimoga.
You have not been given any designation.
How does it matter? Designation or no designation I am being received positively by the people and the workers. It makes no difference. I am man of the masses and I belong to the people, farmers, downtrodden. That is enough.
How many seats is the BJP going to win this time?
We had won 19 in 2009 when I was the chief minister. Much water has flowed down in all streams of politics. My objective is to retain all 19 and also win a few more, say up to 21 or 22. Let’s see. I have been striving towards that end.
ANANTH KUMAR FACES AN UPHILL TASK
Perhaps for the first time in his electoral career, spanning over about 18 years, which he commenced from Bangalore South in 1996, BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar has been facing a real uphill task for host of reasons that includes within the party as well as outside. Firstly, Ananth Kumar is pitted against Nandan Nilekani, IT Czar, a candidate personally chosen by none other than Congress President Sonia Gandhi. In that way, the Congress high command has sent a categorical message to the state unit, the district unit as well as the block unit of the Congress as well as to the corporators, MLAs and ministers under Bangalore South that it is their responsibility to ensure Nilekani’s victory. A senior Congress leader confided on the conditions of anonymity: “Ananth Kumar’s cutting edge for victory was provided by our own Congress MLAs and corporators for various considerations. In a way, Ananth managed to have a sub-rosa deal with our elected representatives. In turn, he used to help them in various ways. But it has now been realised by our seniors that enough is enough and this ‘notional leader’ needs to be shown his place. All our Congress party workers, corporators, and legislators are working with a missionary zeal, mostly due to fear of high command’s wrath. It is this that has made Ananth’s task very difficult this time”
There seems to be truth in what the Congress leader confided when Uday India spoke to many BJP functionaries across the sprawling, fully urban, cent per cent literate Bangalore South parliamentary constituency. But all said and done, general public feel that ultimately Ananth Kumar will sail through because of the strong pro-Modi wave, which is intense and widespread. “We are aware that several middle level BJP functionaries are not too happy with Ananth Kumar but notwithstanding their ire, Ananth will still win due to Modi,” is the common opinion expressed by the public. They, however, hastened to add, “This time it would be difficult to win, but not impossible. The common complaint against Ananth is that he has taken people and workers for granted as he is dabbling in national politics. He has to come down to earth and mingle with the workers and people, lest he loses by a whisker.” Ananth is an activist with keen political acumen. Conscious of the resentment brewing against him, in both the people and workers, he has been going round the constituency as a whirlwind. If Ananth wins, it is because of Modi. But if in spite of Modi, Ananth loses, then it is his own making. It is not out of context to mention here that Pramod Mahajan, who had won the 1998 parliamentary elections and was a minister in Vajpayee’s cabinet, lost in 1999 polls. NDA won hands down. Mahajan was later made Rajya Sabha MP and became minister. Will Ananth Kumar too follow Mahajan or will he continue to register his victory from Bengaluru South? Let’s wait till May 16.
But the BJP lost very badly in 2013 Assembly elections. BJP lost deposit in 111 Assembly constituencies. How can you say that you want to win 21 to 22 seats?
There is a lot of difference in the thought-process of the people between Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. National issues matter now. In the Assembly elections issues were different. I will give you an example. In 2004, BJP won nine Lok Sabha seats and won 79 Assembly seats and emerged as single largest party in the state legislature. When you interpolate Lok Sabha election statistics with Assembly, then we ought to have won more number of Assembly seats. But it did not happen. The people who voted for BJP in Assembly were more than the number of people voted in the Lok Sabha elections. Way back in 1984-85, people ensured the victory of 24 candidates of Congress in the Lok Sabha elections held in the aftermath of Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination. But in the Assembly elections held six months later in March 1985, the same people voted Janata party headed by Ramakrishna Hegde back to power with absolute majority of 136 seats. That is why I would say that people are smart and intelligent enough to decide who should be given how much and when.
But BJP has blundered on Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Mutalik. There are also serious differences, including violence, about the selection of candidates in Bidar and Mandya. How do you describe this?
Unfortunate. This should not have happened. But my only sincere request with all is to forget the differences and work for the larger goal of ensuring BJP’s victory and making Modi as PM in the interest of the country. This is politics and in politics there is no such thing as ‘to the best satisfaction of all’. What can be ensured is ‘to the least dis-satisfaction of all’. Ultimately, we all have to work for the party because in our party culture, nation comes first, party comes second and self comes third and last.
Many of your supporters like Dhananjaya Kumar, MD Lakshminarayan, BP Harish have deserted you. Your comment.
I wish them all the best wherever they go. I value and cherish their friendship, their support they gave me during my both difficult and happier days. As I said, certain things are beyond one’s control. It is difficult to please all at one go.
But you have not answered my question about how many seats is the BJP going to win?
BJP will win maximum number of seats out of 28. We will be the number one party. Perhaps, I can safely say that we would be able to win about 20 to 21 seats.