To contest successfully in the 2023 Karnataka assembly elections, one has to take a leaf out of the Gujarat model, said BY Raghavendra, BJP MP from Shivamogga and son of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, as he spoke to News18 on the issues ranging from Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra to the forthcoming state polls without Yediyurappa in the fray.
Elaborating on party’s strategy based on the historic win in Gujarat assembly elections, which was also praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP parliamentary meet on Wednesday, Raghavendra said chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and his father BS Yediuruppa are travelling every part of Karnataka to strengthen the organisation. BJP national president JP Nadda, too, is visiting Koppal district. “We have confidence in the organisation…our party depends on ‘karykartas’,” Raghavendra added.
Meanwhile, Raghavendra also said the Veerashaiva-Panchamasali Lingayats should get the reservation demanded by them as per the OBC quota report by the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission.
Q: Almost all poll-bound BJP states announced a committee on Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Do you think Karnataka will also make the announcement on similar lines near elections?
A: I am in no position to speak for the government, but, as an MP, I support and welcome UCC. Whether it will be announced ahead of elections, I would not know. Besides UCC, the BJP government at the state and Centre has worked for the people. There are so many welfare schemes by the Centre and state government like the Krishi Samman Yojana that has benefitted more than 1.3 lakh farmers who get Rs 10,000 every year (Rs 6,000 from the Centre and Rs 4,000 by the party). There is Bhagyalakshmi Scheme to support girl child; electricity for farmers is free.
Q: Veerashaiva-Panchamasali subsect in Lingayat has given a deadline of December 19 to give them reservation. How will you ensure that this won’t become an election issue?
A: As an MP, I believe they should get the reservation but it is still being discussed whether it should be given to Lingayats or to the subsect. There are so many sub communities in Lingayats. The Hegde committee is pursuing these issues, and will submit the report to the government in a few days. This serious issue has been deliberated upon, and we should be able to solve it at a stipulated time. We have assembly also in North Karnataka from December 19.
Q: The murder of Praveen Nettaru had angered Hindu activists. Has the issue settled now?
A: There are three to four Hindu Karyakartas who were murdered. The government had initiated an inquiry and action was taken. The accused were arrested. What we are facing today, these are parting gifts of the Congress regime. They have ruled the state for 50 years. When Siddaramaiah was the CM, he gave clean chit to the accused of the case. It is our government that ensured that accused be arrested.
Q: What is the strategy for regions not so strong for the BJP?
A: In the leadership of BS Yediyurappa and CM Basavaraj Bommia, as both are extensively travelling through the state, the party has launched Jan Sankalp Yatra.
Q: Rahul Gandhi took the Bharat Jodo Yatra to your state. Has it had any impact?
A: There is no question that Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra has impacted the BJP in the state. In the previous election, PM Narendra Modi said we will bring Congress on the roads, and look what is happening. Congress is on the road. At the time of Indira Gandhi, it had two-third majority in Parliament and today the party does not even have the leader of opposition post. In Gujarat, they have no traction as well.
Q: There are also reports of factionalism in the party unit as well. With your father giving away a post in the central unit, do you see these elections a challenge for the party?
A: There is no factionalism in the party. My father had left the CM’s post and the transition was smooth. Both CM Bommai and Yediyurappa ji are travelling the state to strengthen the organisation. JP Nadda is visiting Koppal district. Our party depends on cadre. We have confidence in the organisation. Congress depends on 2-3 people but our party depends on ‘karykartas’. For example, in my constituency, in one assembly segment, we have around 10,000 ‘panna pramukhs’. We will follow the Gujarat model. With the blessing of party karyakartas, we will come with majority.
Q: Do you think Congress can make Old Pension Scheme (OPS) an issue in Karnataka as well after it did in Himachal Pradesh?
A: Our leadership will decide on issues that are relevant to the people of the country. Modi ji has to look at the country and is building a stable economic system. We will convince people. Even before implementing GST, there were protests but, look, everyone is satisfied now.
Q: This would be the first election without BS Yediyurappa as the CM candidate. Your brother BY Vijayendra has expressed interest in contesting assembly elections.
A: The party has given so much respect to my father and our supporters, and voters in the state are satisfied. The party has not decided on any candidate for now. Vijayendra has shown interest but the party has to decide.
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