P Muralidhar Rao, an RSS ideologue and BJP national general secretary in charge of Karnataka, believes there is nothing wrong with his party pushing the Hindutva agenda for the forthcoming assembly polls. In an interview to TOI, Rao accused chief minister Siddaramaiah of converting Karnataka into a Kashmir by not acting against those accused of killing RSS workers. Excerpts:
Some recent poll surveys have predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka…
All the surveys are of no consequence. One said BJP will get 60 seats, now they say 81, tomorrow the number will be 100. My target is 150-plus. I have divided the constituencies into A, B, C and D and know how to change the profile of constituency A to B. After the Gujarat poll results on December 18, the campaign, its direction, intensity, participation of national-level leaders and outreach of the yatra in Karnataka will change. We will also get the support of floating voters, undecided voters and even people who have been supporting the Congress.
But the BJP’s yatra to reach the 150-mark hasn’t been a smooth one with confusion among workers in some districts…
When you have a massive organizational network, there is bound to be a communication gap. What’s wrong with that? It doesn’t mean the BJP is weak. The issue in certain places is competitive egos and miscommunication. The response to the yatra has been overwhelming for two reasons: First, organizing public meetings in different towns is different. Second, organizing a yatra in each assembly segment without mobilizing people from other constituencies is quite a task.
Why has the BJP resurrected the Hindutva agenda? It has raised the issue of the Bababudanagiri-Datta Peetha shrine now, something it did not do when in power from 2008-2013…
The party is clear on what the issues are going to be in this election. Hindutva is my party. It is not anti-national, nor anti-Muslim. Nowhere is Hindutva communal. What development is Siddaramaiah speaking about? Whatever the Congress party is today, it owes it to one leader: Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Hyderabad state became part of India only because of Patel. Is Siddaramaiah taking Patel’s name? He is busy in praising Tipu Sultan and wasting money in organizing events on him. It is the CM who is indulging in communal politics and treating BJP as enemy number one rather than as a competitor. My workers are being killed, but this government has not exposed the terror forces. Instead, it has been flexible on them. Siddaramaiah is converting Karnataka into Kashmir by not acting against those who are selectively eliminating my leaders. What happened in Honnavar? I don’t think the government lacks the capacity to control and, by not showing zero tolerance, its intentions are not good.
Why is the leadership silent on some provocative statements made by Union minister Anant Kumar Dattatreya Hegde or on the conduct of MP Prathap Simha defying police restrictions?
You are getting into issues where I will not speak at this point in time. The Congress is already into name-calling politics and is taking the campaign to the gutter level. I have directed party leaders to be focused only on issues, values, development and good governance.
Yeddyurappa has age on his side to become the CM. We have O Rajagopal, who is 88 years and is an MLA in Kerala. Today, theentire party in Karnataka wants Yeddyurappa. That was the reason we declared his CM candidature early. If there was any difference on that count we would have waited.