Astaunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker, newly elected Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel is all about organisational strength. Replacing BS Yediyurappa who is now the Chief Minister, Kateel says that it is all about the party and not any individual.
In an interview with Vincent D’Souza for The New Sunday Express, Kateel shared some details of the direction the BJP will take under his leadership.
Did you expect to be elevated to the post?
I had no expectation or aspiration. It is a responsibility given to me by the party and not just a post.
Karnataka politics is largely caste driven, but you come from a small community. How will you cope?
The BJP is a national party, not driven by caste or dynasties. Performance got me this post and not caste based decisions. However, in politics, we have to adjust to local conditions and make changes as per prevailing conditions. But our goal is one.
Focus areas for you?
We’ll take up a survey to find out where the party is not so strong. Then we will work to strengthen it, especially in the old Mysuru region. In places where our candidates won for reasons other than party strength, we will bolster the party from the booth level onwards.
What will you do for coordination between government and party?
I lead the party, Yediyurappa leads the government which is working fantastically. He is our leader and I will work as a link between party workers and government.
There has been open displeasure over the selection of cabinet ministers. Your thoughts?
It is obvious. In politics, there is nothing wrong with people having aspirations. They are not sanyasis. The Chief Minister has already spoken to them and we will work as a team to ensure all is well. News that disgruntled MLAs are in touch with rival party leaders is just rumours, which are common in politics.
Your party leaders themselves have commented that you have not even seen the whole state.
I will not look at it as a criticism but as advise. I will take good suggestions from all senior leaders.
The opposition has made your not knowing Hindi and English an issue. Your views?
In the Lok Sabha, you can speak in Kannada. Many people who know English speak in Hindi but they (opposition) didn’t raise their voice. No language is disallowed in the Lok Sabha. It is the subject which matters. This is politics of vengeance.
You are known as a firebrand Hindutva leader, will you do things differently now?
As the state president of a political party, I will discharge my duties with caution.
Will Kateel succeed Yediyurappa as the CM?
Definitely no. I have no such expectations or aspirations. There are many others in the party who have more strength. I will work towards strengthening the Party.
What if the party asks you to shoulder the responsibility?
I don’t have that expectation. Yediyurappa will be Chief Minister for many more years.