BENGALURU: Our party is different, our leaders grow organically, declared BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel. “CM B S Yediyurappa is our leader in Karnataka, and PM Modi is our leader nationally. The party decides who will lead when the occasion arises, so there is no confusion,” Kateel said, when asked who was being groomed to succeed Yediyurappa to lead the party in the State.
Kateel, who completed one year in his post, neatly side-stepped any talk of his ambitions. On the leadership issue, he said, “Who knew Yogi Adityanath in UP, and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra? About 20 years ago, the BJP would have had to look for a candidate for the post of chief minister. When Yediyurappa became DyCM in 2006, he offered excellent programmes as finance minister.
When power was not transferred to the BJP, we went before the people with a mass campaign, and the people gave us a mandate. When Modi was projected as PM, then CM Siddaramaiah had asked who knows Modi outside Gujarat, but today, Modi is known across the world. So also Amit Shah.’’ Asked about Old Mysuru repeatedly giving BJP the cold shoulder, and lack of traction in over 50 constituencies, Kateel said the party is slowly making progress, and held up Mandya and Chikkaballapur as examples.
“We are looking at the profile of constituencies where we haven’t won even once, or have won once, or by a negligible margin, and are holding deliberations to see who can take charge of these segments and work out packages to help grow the party’s presence. I am confident that we will win over 150 seats in the next assembly elections.” Kateel is confident of doing well in the upcoming BBMP elections, putting the number of winning seats at 115-120 out of 198 seats, and all four Legislative Council seats.
He said the party and government worked together in the recent by-elections to 15 seats, giving the party a 12+1 win. “Our teams are ready, from the booth level to the Rajya Sabha,” he said. “To encourage the youth, we have restricted the Yuva BJP to 30 years and district leadership to 50. We promoted Ashok Gasti and Eranna Kadadi as Rajya Sabha MPs, Shantaram Siddi and Prathap Simha Nayak as MLCs, as a reward for their work,” Kateel said. He said that CM Yediyurappa handled the twin problems of drought and floods earlier, and is battling Covid and floods this year.