BENGALURU: BJP national general secretary and Karnataka incharge P Muralidhar Rao asserts that his party will reach the 150-seat mark, a figure according to him, not conceptualised just to motivate the party cadre. In an interaction with STOI, he explains the plan of action. 

What makes the BJP optimistic about winning 150 seats, when no party has crossed that mark except the Congress with 178 seats in 1989?
If one goes by the statistical expression of the mission, there’s a logic to question the basis. Karnataka’s population has undergone a demographic change. We have to trigger the ambition among the youth and it all depends on how far the BJP will be able to connect. The Congress has 100% status quo attitude even after Rahul Gandhi took charge of the party. What has he defined which represents the change politics?Where’s the message of zero tolerance towards corruption? Dividing society into a narrative cannot be a positive idea. Have you seen a single message on the deteriorating law and order? The Congress is reacting, not forming the narrative.

The BJP’s governance in Karnataka was synonymous with corruption?

That’s true, but a message has reached all over the country that PM Narendra Modi will not tolerate corruption. Amit Shah has already made it clear that adjustment politics and politics of compromise will have no place in their scheme of things. The party is taking utmost care in selection of candidates which we hope will make people forget the ‘past scenes’ (Yeddyurappa going to jail). A message that the BJP leadership has taken up the responsibility of providing good governance will be sent.

What role the central leadership has vested Yeddyurappa with, when the fight is being seen between Modi and chief minister Siddaramaiah?

Yeddyurappa is not a leader without strength. When one talks about change, the combination of Modi and Yeddyurappa will be a powerful one. Yeddyurappa without Modi or Modi without Yeddyurappa is incomplete in Karnataka as a combination.

With BJP’s over dependence on Lingayats, how do you plan to capture the Vokkaliga votes ?

This time, the BJP’s penetration into Vokkaliga votes will be historically high. Vokkaligas are also looking at who can defeat the Congress. Many Vokkaliga leaders are joining the BJP. The entry of S M Krishna and C P Yogeshwara has given a big push for the party. Many religious leaders are accepting the party’s ideology. This is the reason why we brought Modi and Shah so early to Mysuru. The party’s gain in Old Mysuru region will be all-time high.

Is not targeting the JD(S) a strategy, to keep the door open for the latter in future?

We are not doubtful about achieving the 150-mark. Why should we target the JD(S) whom we don’t consider as an important force. Our goal is the party in power and capture the anti-Congress votes by pitting ourselves as a formidable opponent.


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