BENGALURU: As electioneering for the bypolls gains momentum, the BJP is making all-out efforts to win the Maski and Basavakalayan Assembly segments and the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat. Expressing confidence of doing well in the bypolls, BJP state vice-president and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra says the next big challenge for the party is to come back to power after the 2023 Assembly elections with an absolute majority. “Yediyurappa aims to get around 130 seats for the party in the next elections. He will not sit quietly and continue to work till he reaches that target,” he told The New Sunday Express.
After KR Pet and Sira, you are now in Maski. What are the challenges for the party there?
The situation in the constituency has changed since last week. The Congress, which was under the impression that it already had won the seat, is now saying that it is difficult to do so. That is what Congress leaders in the constituency are talking about. Prathap Gowda Patil (BJP candidate) had won the seat three times and the Congress had managed to create some negative impression about him.
The big task for us is to convince people to vote for development and we are happy that we have succeeded in doing so. The BJP is confident of winning over the voters with our development agenda. They will support us.
The Congress accused the BJP of distributing money and urged the Election Commission to disqualify your party candidate.
If they have any evidence, let them give it (to the EC). But the reality is different. They are losing ground and making baseless allegations out of desperation. They are worried as they have lost KR Pet, Sira and are now losing Maski.
Some sections of BJP leaders say Vijayendra gets undue credit for party candidates’ victories. How do you respond?
The credit should always go to our party leaders and our workers. Our party workers are the ones who work at the ground level. The credit for winning any election should go to them. Some leaders in your party, as well as in the Opposition, accuse you of working as a de facto CM and interfering in government works.
I am fully aware of the circumstances under which Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and the (Sangh) Parivar leaders brought Yediyurappa back into the BJP, made him party president and also the CM. So, there is no question of causing any damage to the party, central leaders and Yediyurappa by my conduct or behaviour. That question will not arise at all. My dream is to work for the party. But there is no question of me interfering in the working of ministers. It is easy to make allegations against me, as I am the CM’s son, and also there is nothing to speak against the CM. There are so many senior ministers in the government, where is the question of my interference?
As vice-president of the BJP state unit, do you think your party MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal’s continuing tirade and K S Eshwarappa’s letter to the Governor, undermine Yediyurappa’s leadership?
In 1999, when Yediyurappa lost the election, his opponents thought that was the end of his political career. Again, in 2006, when H D Kumaraswamy refused to transfer power, many thought that it was the end of the road for Yediyurappa. Even in 2013, many thought his time in politics was over. Yediyurappa is not an individual, but a force. The people of the state as well as the central leaders are confident about that force. So, some people here and there making comments will not weaken Yediyurappa or his leadership.
How important are these bypolls to Yediyurappa and the party?
The BJP takes all elections as a challenge. Winning or losing these elections may not make much of a difference for the BJP, but it is very important for the development of the constituencies and people will support us.
After the bypolls,will you be focusing more on the Old Mysuru region?
As a vice-president, I will focus on the entire state and there is a lot of scope for strengthening the party in the Kalyana Karnataka and Old Mysuru regions. It is a big challenge for the party in both these regions. I will continue to work for strengthening the party along with other leaders and give more emphasis on the Old Mysuru region.
Former CM Siddaramaiah has dared you to contest from Varuna constituency in the next Assembly elections. How do you respond?
Such challenges are not new to us. We have our workers and the organisation to face any challenge. But, the decision on when and from where to contest elections will be decided by our central and state leaders and I will abide by that.
What is the next big challenge the BJP in Karnataka?
Though we are in power today, the next big challenge is to come back to power with an absolute majority. Yediyurappa aims to get around 130 seats for the party in the next elections. He has never missed his target, even during the Lok Sabha elections or during the byelections. Many of his detractors talk about his age, but at every stage, he has proved what he is capable of. He aims to win 130 seats. He will not sit quietly and will continue to work till he reaches that target.