BENGALURU: BJP leader Piyush Goyal, one of the two Union ministers tasked with overseeing the party’s preparations for the Karnataka assembly election, has been camping in Bengaluru for the last couple of weeks, strategizing and monitoring the party’s poll campaign. In an interview with TNIE, Goyal sounded confident of the BJP getting an absolute majority. He said anger against the Siddaramaiah government and people’s desire to have B S Yeddyurappa back as CM are the factors working for the party. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of the situation?
People seem to have made up their mind. People are angry about the mis-governance in the state for the last five years and corruption. In Bengaluru, just a mention of (K J) George, (N A) Haris and Roshan Baig immediately brings out the anger of common man. The kind of deterioration Bengaluru has seen in the last few years is probably unprecedented. Farmers are disillusioned by this government’s focus on only making money. It clearly looks like people are yearning for a change. We can see that the BJP is fast moving towards an absolute majority. BJP could be crossing 130. In Bengaluru, we are expecting a clean sweep.
You think the situation changed in the last few days?
Perception among people was that the Congress was ahead. After seeing the response that Yeddyurappa’s Parivartana Yatra received, we could clearly see winds of change. As our workers started campaigning and engaging with people, we could clearly see the anger they had against the present government and love and affection for PM Modi.
You mean to say mandate in Karnataka will be a mandate for Modi?
It will be a mandate for development, for good governance and for getting rid of the corrupt and irresponsive government. It will be a mandate against people like George, Haris and Baig. To my mind, the die is cast.
PM addressed 21 rallies in the last few days. Do you think that will be a decisive factor?
We take every election very seriously. He had a similar engagement in UP, Uttarakhand and other states. I would have been happier had he addressed more rallies, but we could begin his campaign only after he returned from China. He has actively engaged with people and it will certainly help the party.
Wasn’t it an overkill to give so much importance the national leadership in a state election?
We work very seriously to win elections and even our state leaders are on the move. Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar, Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda, Eshwarappa, Sriramulu and other state leaders, including MPs, are extensively campaigning. BJP gets its strength from its workers and senior leaders are here to work with them.
Does your party give specific role to different leaders?
The campaign trail is basically done by national and state leaders together and some of us are here to support them. Specific assignment is given to each one to look at specific areas or parts of the campaign. The primary role is of the state leadership and we only support them.
Don’t you think BJP compromised while giving tickets?
In fact, we are the only party that has not made any compromise while giving tickets.
What about Congress charge about giving tickets to Reddy brothers and their aides?
You are creating an association where none exists. In the family someone has some problem with law, but he is not part of the BJP anymore. Other brothers have nothing to do with his work and if they are candidates there is nothing wrong. Rahul Gandhi has nothing else to talk about. He better put his act together to save his party from being reduced to Puducherry, Punjab and Parivar party.
Do you think denying ticket to Vijayendra was a mistake?
Not at all. That is the strength of BJP. He is a young boy and he is a general secretary of our youth wing. Let him work for a few more years. All of us have worked for years. BJP tickets are not given based on surname. It was a straightforward decision and Yeddyurappa understands it.
Congress is attacking PM’s style of campaigning, calling it unbecoming of a PM.
Why did they do such lowly things and stoop so low in their actions that we have to talk about them. Why did they indulge in corruption of such high proportion that today they have to feel small about it. Congress has to answer to people.
BJP is accused of misusing agencies like I-T department?
How are we responsible for the I-T raids? We are busy with polls. These are departmental actions. They take action when they find something wrong.
Why only Congress leaders then?
Because they are the ones who are doing it and hence facing the music.
Surveys have predicted a hung assembly. In such an event, will BJP join hands with JD(S)?
Many of these surveys are just wish-full thinking. We will get absolute majority and there is no question of any alliance.
Rahul Gandhi says he is ready to be PM in 2019?
It’s like “Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne” (day dreaming).
If BJP comes to power, will Yeddyurappa complete his tenure as CM?
Yes. These are all stories that you hear on WhatsApp or may be in some newspapers. He is the leader of the state and people are voting him to form the government. He will be the CM and will run a government that is focused on farmers’ welfare, infrastructure development and government that will ensure Bengaluru regains its old glory.