BY SHARON THAMBALA
Prahlad Joshi has the onerous task of emulating the party’s performance from the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the current elections. After the party’s humiliating loss in the 2013 state Assembly due to severe infighting and corruption, Joshi has managed to gum together warring groups in the party under the guidance of BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi and his own mentor H N Ananth Kumar
The return of Bellary leader B Sriramulu to the BJP has not gone down well with the BJP’s national leader Sushma Swaraj. Did you ignore her wishes?
Sushma Swaraj had expressed her reservations about Sriramulu’s inclusion. However, after the recommendation of the BJP state leadership and national leadership, he has been re-inducted into the party.
Sriramulu has said he will not resign his Assembly seat unless promised the Bellary ticket?
I think he will resign and contest from Bellary.
Do you think the Aam Aadmi Party will have any impact on BJP’s chances in Karnataka?
The Aam Aadmi Party may have some effect in Bangalore but not in the rest of the state. Congress created Kejriwal and AAP as Congress cannot face Modi. They cannot face Modi because of corruption. People know the cleanliness and propriety of Congress in public life.
How many seats will BJP win in Karnataka?
We will win 19 seats.
Nandan Nilekani is confident of defeating five time MP Ananth Kumar in Bangalore South. He is willing to wage a bet on it.
Nandan Nilekani is not willing to tell people that he is contesting from the Congress. He is not using Congress symbols in his photos or campaign material. What did he do for people? He didn’t do anything except that bogus Aadhaar. He set up a business and earned money. He says people want change. Yes, people want change — that change is Modi and BJP.
The BJP has not really been able to make inroads in South India despite winning Karnataka in 2008?
We will make good progress in South India. We are going into the Lok Sabha polls in alliances good local parties in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. We will open our account in Kerala this year.
How much did the decision to grant journalist Pratap Simha a party ticket have to do with the fact that he wrote a book on Narendra Modi?
Modi did not recommend a ticket to anyone.