SEDAM: B S Yeddyurappa’s ‘Parivarthana Yatra’ is drawing encouraging response in most parts of the state. While the Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP is striking a chord with the crowds with the development plank by playing up the failures of Siddaramaiah government and welfare programmes of the Modi government and the previous BJP government in the state, the aggressive Hindutva campaign of party leaders AnanathKumar Hegde and Pratap Simha have raised a few concerns about the poll plank of the party. Yeddyurappa in an exclusive interaction with The New Indian Express explained BJP’s plans and expectations. Excerpts of the interview.
TNIE: Your rallies are getting good response, but the infighting within seems to be undermining the hard work?
BSY: It is a common phenomenon in any party during election time. But I am not bothered as our party national president Amit Shah will take care of it. We know how to curb it. There are multiple aspirants for tickets in every constituency. Candidates will be chosen in a transparent manner based on our internal survey and the most popular aspirant will get the ticket.
TNIE: Your campaign is banking more on the development plank, but leaders like Pratap Simha and Ananth Kumar Hegde are drawing attention through hardline Hindutva.
BSY: Pratap and AnanthKumar Hegde are like that by nature. But we are going to polls with Modi government’s achievements and the welfare programmes launched by us during my tenure. I have been clear in my campaign to carry all the communities--Hindus, Muslims, Christians--together. We are committed to ‘Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas’. There is no plan or strategy for Hardline Hindutva. Our national leaders and myself have spoken to Pratap and AnanthKumar Hegde and told them to show restraint and not to create any confusion in the minds of the people.
TNIE: Agitation for a separate Lingayat religion is threatening to upset your calculations, your comments.
BSY: Not even a bit. The agitation for Lingayat Dharma will not have any impact on BJP’s prospects. We have announced our stand to support whatever the decision the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, the supremo body of the community, takes. Even the Siddaganga seer has conveyed his view in writing and we will abide by that. People like Water Resources Minister M B Patil are making a noise. He is a fool, speaking like a mad man. I have addressed so many rallies and have been interacting with the masses every day. Not even one person from the community has questioned our stand or raised objections. We are not worried at all about it.
TNIE: Senior leader Umesh Katti’s outburst against party leaders and reports on his plans to join Congress is threatening to jolt BJP.
BSY: Umesh Katti’s outburst was purely personal and has been misinterpreted. I have spoken to him. He has made it clear that he would remain in BJP till his death and would strive to make me the Chief Minister. He will fight the election only on BJP symbol.