Is the BJP trying to come to power in Karnataka by mustering numbers to topple the JD(S)-Congress government?
Currently, there are no such efforts. We have been asked to concentrate on the Lok Sabha elections. Our leader B S Yeddyurappa will soon announce our campaign plans.
The Congress and JD(S) have been circulating audio clips to show the BJP is trying to create problems for their coalition government.
It’s the Congress’s game. Siddaramaiah is behind it. He cannot accept that he is not the chief minister; he wants to become the CM again. The CD and audio clips are their own creation, blame is being put on the BJP.
But what about the rumours that B S Yeddyurappa thinks it is his last chance to become CM and so has been trying to lure MLAs from the JD(S) and Congress?
It’s a lie. Yeddyurappa was CM and can become CM again. Who says it is his last chance? Right now he is the leader of opposition which is equivalent to CM.
What would the BJP campaign highlight in Karnataka?
The fact that the JD(S)-Congress government does not have anything to show as far as development or initiatives go. Both the parties have serious internal issues and have been busy resolving these the last six months. They have forgotten the people. They gave elaborate speeches on farm loan waivers, claimed 49 per cent of the loans had been waived off, but the reality is not even 10 per cent benefited.
In 2014, we had promised a corruption-free government at the Centre, raising India’s glory and honour in the world, welfare of the armed forces and development. We have succeeded a great deal. Everyone knows that five years is not enough to achieve all this.
Will the PM-KISAN scheme will help?
Definitely. Farmers will get money in their accounts. We will tell farmers it’s just the beginning and there will be a series of programmes. The state government cannot match it because their assistance should be above Rs 6,000 (the annual allotment to marginal farmers under the KISAN scheme).
Caste is likely to play a key role in the elections in Karnataka. How does the BJP plan to attract other groups besides the Lingayats, known to be its strong base?
It’s so in state elections, but in the Lok Sabha polls, Karnataka will vote to elect the Prime Minister. The BJP has always won votes from across communities in parliamentary elections. The party had won 17 seats which included constituencies where the Vokkaligas have a strong presence in 2014. We won three seats in Bengaluru.
Will issues like the terror attack in Pulwama have an impact?
We have to do something about it. We have to teach Pakistan a lesson. Whatever has to be done at the border will be done by our forces. What our government will do is get the international community’s support for our decisions. We have full faith in our Prime Minister, who holds influence in the global community.
The BJP Karnataka unit is battling inner-party differences. How will you resolve these ahead of polls?
Karnataka is the only state in the south where the BJP has high hopes of winning seats. Is it putting pressure on you?
Not at all. In the past, the BJP has won 19 seats in the Lok Sabha polls in the state. Even in 2014, in the three constituencies we lost, we lost with a small margin. The atmosphere now is such that the party can win 20 seats.