With Yeddyurappa and Reddy out, BJP is now clean: Gowda
Forget the first three years of BJP rule in Karnataka as a bad dream and look at the honest governance provided after Yeddyurappa stepped down from power, says Sadananda Gowda, the former chief minister of Karnataka.
Sadananda Gowda, who is now a vice president in the new core team of the Bharatiya Janata Party, appears confident of a win. He spoke to rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa
There is no indication that the BJP is going to win the elections in Karnataka. What are your thoughts?
We are certainly confident and we will be voted back into power. Who has given you this indication?
The Congress and several poll pundits say so. The Congress also says that they will win 120 seats.
Please ask the Congress on my behalf if they are sure of this number? They claim they have an advantage. But what is happening in the party today? There are protests everywhere for tickets. They are not united. The Belgaum unit president of the Congress has alleged that party leaders have taken Rs 5 crore in bribe for tickets.
At the Mangalore airport there were protests when a leader arrived from New Delhi. Please tell the Congress that an election is won only if they select their candidates properly.
What about the BJP? The party will be questioned about its performance. How do you deal with this issue when all one can remember is rebellion, corruption and dissidence?
Please take into consideration the last two years of the BJP. I do agree that during the first three years we could not reach up to the expectations of the people. That was the time when B S Yeddyurappa was the chief minister. We will tell the people of Karnataka to please excuse us for those three years. In the last two years Jagadish Shettar and I have provided good governance, fantastic development and more importantly a clean rule.
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Image: BJP president Rajnath Singh with Sadananda Gowda
BJP has served the people to their expectations
Is the BJP clean today?
Yes, it is a clean party today. Yeddyurappa is out; Janardhan Reddy from Bellary is out. The BJP has served the people to their expectations.
What about you? Did you not expect the BJP to make you the CM candidate?
There should be unity in the party. Abiding by the decision of the central leadership is my priority. There have been certain poll strategies that have been worked out after which it was decided that Shettar would be the CM. During the last elections the Lingayat votes were the key and hence it was decided to float Yeddyurappa. I may be an aspirant to the post of chief minister, but as a party man, I have to ensure that the party's image be maintained. Let me make it clear that I am not the CM candidate and I will abide with anyone the party chooses.
What about the recent drubbing in the urban local body elections? Isn't that a pointer?
I really do not want to explain this as I believe it is not a pointer. We were in the third place during the ULB elections in 2008 and 2007. Despite the drubbing, we came to power in the state. Now would you call that a pointer? Let us not talk about pointers. There are political fluctuations and situations. The real picture as to who will be the winner will only come once the campaigning begins. The real battle is when the candidates are on the battlefield.
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Image: Former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa
Yeddyurappa was dictatorial
People like Katta Subramanya Naidu, who have been winning candidates, have not been given tickets as yet. Is there a move in the BJP to keep tainted candidates out?
We at the state level cannot decide this. The central committee in New Delhi takes a call on this issue. It is a policy matter and I would not like to comment on it.
What impact would Narendra Modi have in Karantaka?
He was our star campaigner last time. Modi was in Karnataka for seven days and the BJP benefitted a lot out. Modi was to address a rally at Puttur at 1 in the afternoon when the temperature was 42 degrees. There were hardly any people. But once Modi landed there the crowds flocked in. This even translated into votes and a new candidate from the BJP won without any problem. It will be repeated this time.
I thought Yeddyurappa was your star campaigner last time.
Yeddyurappa won on a simple issue called sympathy which happened due to a betrayal by the Janata Dal-Secular. Yeddyurappa was dictatorial.
Image: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi