BENGALURU: Handpicked by the BJP’s national leadership to be transformed from ordinary district-level party workers into candidates for Rajya Sabha elections, Eranna Kadadi and Ashok Gasti are a grateful duo.
In an interview with The New Indian Express, the duo, whose election is only a matter of formality, spoke on their plans, priorities and the role of BJP National Secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh in their candidature.
Did you expect to be the BJP’s candidate for Rajya Sabha?
Kadadi: Irrespective of the party, a worker always yearns to be in some post. I too was hoping to get a post but party seniors had told me that I may need to work harder and an opportunity would be given some day in the future. This time, I believe that the State and National leaders together decided to send across a message to party workers across the State by choosing grassroots level workers.
Gasti: I had no clue about it. It was a party decision and here I am. I belong to a micro-minority community but the party has identified and given me a noble position. I am naturally nervous since this was unexpected. The party has recognised me and my work and I am grateful to it.
Your name did not feature in the State core committee’s list and you were directly handpicked by the National leadership. Who do you give credit for this?
Kadadi: Talks are held at different levels between National and State leadership. Talks continue even after the core committee submits its list. I am sure this was a consensus decision.
Gasti: Core committee would have held discussions too but the parliamentary board decides ultimately. They have chosen me for my honest work for the party in the last 30 years. I am an advocate and I have worked loyally for the party.
What are your plans as an RS member?
Kadadi: Firstly, I am studying the procedures and duties of Rajya Sabha and planning on how to move forward. Secondly, what I can do right now is make an honest attempt to push for all developmental activities from the Centre to Karnataka.
Gasti: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a grand vision for development. The Government wants to ensure schemes reach the people. I want to be a chain between the Centre and Karnataka to help implement the Centre’s schemes.
As an RS member, would you represent Karnataka or BJP primarily?
Kadadi: A political party is only a platform for us to go to Parliament. Once we are there, we have to represent the State and the interests of the people of Karnataka. As soon as the election is concluded, I will no longer be biased to one party. I will function in a way that brings pride to my party and welfare to the State.
Gasti: That will be decided by our senior leaders at the Centre. They will guide me on how I should be in Rajya Sabha.
B L Santhosh has been credited with your candidature. What has his role been in this process?
Kadadi: An organising secretary will know the difficulties of each worker in the organisation. I don’t understand why people think it was wrong of him to choose us. Instead of dragging Santhosh’s name in every issue and creating an impression that he made a mistake, why not look at it as a beneficial step to the party when grassroots level workers are appreciated and encouraged?
Gasti: I will not comment on this matter. I am a common party worker and I am governed by Sangh’s discipline. I will continue to live by the ideals I learnt in the Sangh.