He contested unsuccessfully against the late Union minister Ananth Kumar in 1999 from Bangalore South and is now back with a vengeance. With Congress and JD(S) rallying behind him, BK Hariprasad is confident that he will be able to vest the seat that has been the BJP’s fortress since 1991. In an interview with Anusha Ravi, K Hariprasad highlights what is working in his favour as he takes on BJP’s Tejasvi Surya and how the tie up with JD(S) will help him consolidate votes. Excerpts.
What is your campaign strategy to vest Bangalore South that has been BJP’s bastion for more than two decades now?
The campaign is going well. The response is impressive. The day I filed my nomination, many leaders and a lot of workers accompanied me. The feeling I got was that the Congress is ahead. I have been meeting people and the response has been good.
What are the issues or agendas that you are fighting this election on?
Considering this is a Lok Sabha election, the major issue that I see is the fight to protect the nation. I am fighting to protect the Constitution. My fight is to defend democracy and restore democratic institutions. We (Congress) as MPs had passed the bill to ensure 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha in 2009. I stand by that and we want that reservation to be implemented. As far as Bengaluru is concerned, it was one of the most beautiful cosmopolitan cities in the world. I want to bring back the glory and the cosmopolitan culture of Bengaluru, especially in Bangalore South constituency.
Do you believe JD(S) is will be helpful in consolidated votes in your favour?
JD(S) has huge pockets in some Assembly segments like Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar and Bommanahalli. Congress aligning with H D Deve Gowda and his party will benefit us. Consolidation will be successful.
How do you view your opponent from BJP?
Tejasvi Surya’s candidature was selection by choice. BJP simply wanted an alternative to Tejaswini Ananth Kumar and hence they brought him in. It is not with an intention of providing opportunities to youngsters. If that was the case, there are people who have crossed 70-75 years on the BJP’s candidate list. They only wanted to avoid one person and gave him the chance. Of course, Tejaswini would have been a more formidable opponent. The message being sent out was that she would carry the works of Ananth Kumar forward and that was a threat for us. But clearly, BJP doesn’t believe in Ananth Kumar’s work. Hence, they have denied her a ticket.
What is working in your favour this election?
Failed promises of jobs by Narendra Modi is my biggest advantage. He assured two crore jobs for the youth ... but after demonetisation, we have lost many jobs. Bengaluru, being a city of opportunities, has lost many jobs and has failed to create jobs as well. This is working in my favour.