MYSURU: Vijayendra, the younger son of BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, hogged the limelight with his dramatic entry into the electoral arena in Varuna constituency and an equally dramatic exit from it. In the process, he has emerged as a leader who can galvanise youths in Old Mysuru. Drawing an overwhelming response from Veerashaivas, he is working on a mission mode to upset Congress’ caste equations by reaching out to Dalits. He said he has no political ambition and his only goal is to bring the BJP to power.
After missing out on BJP ticket, you have taken up aggressive campaigning. Will it yield fruits in Mysuru-Chamrajnagar, a Congress stronghold?
Many thought I would disappear once I missed out on the ticket to contest from Varuna. My objective is bigger than becoming an MLA. I will deliver a shock to Siddaramaiah and Congress, winning a good number of seats in Mysuru and Chamrajnagar for the BJP.
How is that you have become a celebrity overnight in Mysuru?
People in Varuna were surprised when I visited all Dalit colonies in 15 days and they were surprised that a son of former and future chief minister is with them like any other fellow villager. I will also bring microscopic communities to the BJP fold as many are upset with Siddaramaiah. There will be no hung assembly.
What is your strategy to negate the charisma of Siddaramaiah?
Siddaramaiah’s charisma is stage-managed by a few agencies and it is not a result of hard work. Just full page adds and slogans on television and social media. His popular Anna Bhagya is a union government-funded programme and nothing else.
Yeddyurappa and you are projected as strong Lingayat leaders. How far will you be successful in winning over SC/ST and OBCs?
It is unfortunate that Yeddyurappa is branded as a Lingayat (leader) by the Congress to see that he will not take control of others. In his five decades of politics, my father has fought for farmers’ cause and for the deprived sections. Though I am proud to be a Veerashaiva-Lingayat, it is shameful to identify someone with one community. We want to reach out to all sections of the society.
Are you denied a ticket to curtail Yeddyurappa’s influence in the party and target the dynasty politics in Congress?
There is no question of pulling down Yeddyurappa. If that was the case, why would the party declared him the CM candidate? I agree with Modiji who has hit out at dynasty politics. I am the last person to get into electoral politics.
Why did you campaign in Varuna then?
My brother Raghavendra also entered politics when the party was looking for a candidate to defeat former CM S Bangarappa. I came to Varuna when all ticket aspirants wanted me to take on Siddaramaiah. I would not have turned up if I knew Yathindra would contest.
Will you play a greater role after May 15 and in Lok Sabha elections?
I am thankful to the party for making me general secretary of its Yuva Morcha and it will help organise youths to prepare for Lok Sabha polls. I have also a bigger dream to tap the tourism potential that can generate employments.
There is an apprehension among Veerashaivas that Yeddyurappa will be the CM for less than two years. Is it true?
The Congress that felt it would be difficult to come back to power in 2018 took a nasty decision to split the Veerashaiva- Lingayat community. Now, the Congress has floated a rumour that Yeddyurappa will be given one or two years. (But) BJP president Amit Shah has made it clear that he will be the CM for five years.