Five-time MP from Bangalore South, BJP’s Ananth Kumar, who will face former Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, has said it “does not matter” who the Congress fields as its candidate. “The contest is not between Ananth Kumar and Nandan Nilekani, it is between Narendra Modiji and the UPA’s poor performance. It does not matter whom they (the Congress) position as their candidate, people feel helpless with unending corruption, scams and inflation… and want Modi as their leader,” he said.
“We are looking at a major victory in the upcoming elections — very good support from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and at least 18 seats in Karnataka. If these three states are in our favour, we are set to form a government,” he added.
Asked to comment on Nilekani declaring assets worth Rs 7,700 crore, Kumar said he was only performing his “legal responsibility”. “If Nandan claims he alone is transparent in this process, he is simply hoodwinking people,” Kumar said.
On his plans for the constituency, if he is elected for the sixth time, Kumar said, “Constituency bifurcation is only for political purposes; a city cannot be governed in that manner. My main concern for the city is resolving traffic obstacles and improving public transportation.”
Kumar also slammed the Aadhaar scheme, which was being handled by Nilekani till recently. Referring to the Supreme Court ruling that Aadhaar card cannot be a prerequisite for public services, he said, “The Supreme Court’s decision vindicates our stand. The BJP has long maintained that the Aadhaar card is actually a niradhaar card, with no real benefits for people. There are too many flaws in the way information is collected and how it may be used, exposing citizens to the risk of privacy violation… The UPA government wasted over Rs 30,000 crore (on the project).”
Talking about Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muttalik, who was shown the door by the BJP five hours after being inducted, Kumar said, “It was nothing extraordinary. The state BJP unit had decided to include Muttalik in the party fold. However, when the matter reached the central leadership, they immediately conveyed their dissatisfaction and the membership was withdrawn. The acceptance and rejection of any new member is a routine exercise in any political party. Only because it was Muttalik, it drew media attention.”
Asked why the BJP decided against taking Muttalik under its wing, he said, “The legacy and the nature of working of the Sri Rama Sene does not go with the BJP’s ideologies.”
Asked about former chief minister Yeddyurappa, who still has graft cases pending against him, being welcomed into the party, Kumar said it was done “for progress”. “Yeddyurappa is going to win Shimoga constituency for us hands down,” he said.