Bengaluru: In a significant departure from his previous stand that disgruntled Congress legislators would migrate to his party and help form a new government, state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday announced that his party is battle ready for midterm elections and exuded confidence of winning 170 to 175 Assembly seats. In the run-up to Lok Sabha elections, Mr Yeddyurappa had maintained that his party would win in 22 constituencies though his colleagues maintained that the tally would not exceed 17.
The Lingayat strongman, however, ensured a record performance with the BJP winning 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats. Such an extraordinary show notwithstanding, the former chief minister has changed tack vis-à-vis formation of the new government, and seems determined to lead the party to another record performance in midterm polls to the Assembly. “We will not bring down this government. More than 20 Congress legislators are unhappy with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and they will bring down the government,” he told Deccan Chronicle in an interview. Excerpts:
Besides a strong wave in support of PM Narendra Modi, what are the other factors which favoured the party in our state?In Karnataka, in addition to the wave in favour of Mr Narendra Modi, three factors facilitated our record victory. First, failures of the coalition headed by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in last one year. It did not bother to address distress among farmers. An unholy alliance between the Congress and JD(S) helped us in the elections. The third reason is that people still remember the good governance provided by the BJP government and popular schemes launched by our. Last, dedicated work by party cadre also helped us win 26 seats (25 BJP candidates, and one independent supported by the party), and secure vote share of 52 per cent.
There is anxiety in the coalition government after both parties managed to win just one Lok Sabha seat each. Will this government last its term?Soon after results were announced, I said the Chief Minister has lost his moral right to continue because the people have out right rejected this unholy alliance. The results are a mandate against the state government, but leaders of both parties are not ready to accept mandate of the people. I insisted that both parties should spell out their stand to the people. A majority of Congress legislators have registered their protest on continuance of the coalition government.
Going by results of Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has gained a lead in almost 180 Assembly constituencies. Is the party ready for midterm polls?Absolutely, we are ready for midterm polls. If elections to the Assembly are held this moment, we will secure 170 to 175 seats. Leaders of both Congress and JD(S) are aware of this fact and therefore afraid to go for polls. I will consult the top brass of our party in Delhi, and draw up the future course of action. We will not bring down the state government. There is no need to launch "Operation Kamala' to bring down this government. As I said earlier, more than 20 Congress MLAs are unhappy with Mr Kumaraswamy's government. They will bring down the government.
Will you demand dissolution of the Assembly?I will discuss our party's strategy with our MLAs, MPs and senior leaders. After taking their feedback, I will discuss with the central leadership. I will go by the advice of central leadership on the question of demanding dissolution of the Assembly.
For the first time, the BJP won all seven reserved Lok Sabha constituencies. Your comment on the paradigm of shift of SC/ST votes in favour of the BJP?This year's Lok Sabha elections reflected the fact that SC/ST and OBC voters have supported the BJP en masse. We have not only won all seven reserved constituencies, but won by extraordinary margins, except in Chamarajanagar constituency. This shows how SC/ST and OBC voters have accepted the BJP, and handed a fitting reply to Congress and JD(S) for opportunistic politics pursued by them.