With the BJP opposing dynastic politics, giving a ticket to state unit chief B S Yeddyurappa’s son to contest the Assembly polls would have “robbed” the party of its ammunition in fighting against it, BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao said today. Rao said he was confident that Karnataka would vote in the party’s favour in the May 12 Assembly polls. Achieving the target of 150 seats in the 224-member assembly would “not be a difficult task”, he told PTI. Rao said the party was fighting against dynastic politics. “…it is not that we have not given ticket to anybody (father, son), but giving it to one of the senior leaders and his son or daughter is different, and giving ticket to Yeddyurappa (son) is different,” he said. He said during one of the party sessions, Yeddyurappa thought it “would rob the BJP of its ammunition in its fight against dynasty politics”.
Rao said the “two plus one” formula has been adopted by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from two constituencies Badami and Chamundeshwari, and his son Yatindra from the Varuna Assembly segment. “To counter this Yeddyurappa felt this is a small sacrifice. Yeddyurappa’s thinking and BJP’s thinking both have converged,” Rao said.
In a last minute move before the deadline for filing of nomination papers, Yeddyurappa on April 23 had announced that his son Vijayendra would not contest from Varuna and instead an ordinary party worker would be fielded against Yatindra. This move had led to a large-scale protest by party workers as Vijayendra was campaigning in Varuna projecting himself as the candidate.
Asked whether the party denied the ticket for Vijayendra or he withdrew himself, Rao said “it was both ways”. Rao claimed public anger against the Congress government has become increasingly visible due to the Siddaramaiah government’s “failure” on all fronts in the last five years. “… there is no motivation among its workers…it is definitely working in BJP’s advantage,” he said. He said the Congress had followed a negative campaign and claimed that there were divisions within the Congress.
The BJP has been able to address its internal issues and it was helping the party, Rao said. Asked about tickets given to tainted mining baron Janardhan Reddy’s brothers and those from his camp, he said both Karunakara Reddy and Somashekhar Reddy have been working for the party at the grassroot level. “Giving them ticket has no direct or indirect link to their brother,” the BJP leader said.
Asked if the party would dissociate from Janardhan Reddy, who has been campaigning for a few party candidates, he said, “His association with the party is not there, so there is no need for dissociation when association is not there.” The BJP has publicly distanced itself from Janardhan Reddy, with party chief Amit Shah recently saying it has nothing to do with him. Rao said the Siddaramaiah government’s decision to recommend religious minority status for the dominant Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community would have an impact during the Assembly election in the BJP’s favour.
Claiming that the community understood that the move was a “divide and rule policy” of the Congress government, he said, “They know Congress is not interested in anything other than to make it an election issue, so they have played this strategy….” “Lingayat or any others, most of them will not vote for Congress,” he said. Not willing to accept the theory that there may be a hung assembly in the state, Rao said people would give his party the “absolute majority”. Suggesting that giving vote to the JDS meant indirectly supporting the Congress, he said, “So it is a political status quo (if vote for JDS. I don’t think people will give vote for continuity. There is need for change and change means BJP.”
On the Siddaramaiah government’s portrayal of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government as anti-regional pride, Rao said “When has Congress started representing regional pride?” and hit out at the party, saying “Rahul Gandhi did not know the Congress’ history nor the country’s”. Pointing out that the Congress had “disappeared” from most parts of south India, he asked, “When did south Indian people start thinking of the Congress as their saviour?”