'We will form govt in Karnataka with full majority'
In an exclusive interview with SIMONTINI BHATTACHARJEE, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said he is confident of returning to power in Karnataka. Shah feels that the people of the state will repose their faith in BJP and uproot the Congress regime
How optimistic are you about the mandate of the Karnataka people and why would they vote for BJP?
I believe that Bharatiya Janata Party is going to form the government with a 'comfortable' margin. Siddaramaiah is ruling the state for five years, and I don't think he deserves another term. First, 3,500 farmers have committed suicide so far, and that number is growing. On the contrary, in Maharashtra, where our government has been in power for the last three and half years, there is a 42 per cent decrease in farmer suicides.
Second, the law and order situation in Bengaluru city is in a deplorable state. I don't think the people of Karnataka will take these issues lightly.
Twenty-four BJP workers have been killed in the state, and yet there is no proper investigation in these cases. The Congress is receiving the support of SDPI covertly. But, there is no need for the 'hide and seek' game. The ruling government has not satisfied the people of Karnataka in even a single parameter. Whether in terms of development, or in the implementation of central schemes. The BJP government at the centre has provided Rs. 3,50,000 crore to the state development fund. It further sanctioned Rs. 2,19,000 crore and Rs. 80,000 crore for other projects like Bengaluru metro, road, railways etc.
You are expecting a 'comfortable win', however, the surveys seem to suggest a tough fight in Karnataka. How do you react to this?
The people of Karnataka will decide. They will vote for a BJP government this time.
It is said that JD (S) is going to play a key role in this election. What is your opinion?
JD (S) works in a limited area, so I think it won't be much of a factor.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has claimed a tacit understanding between the BJP and JD (S). How would you respond to this?
Our minister Anant Kumar asked him for proof. Kumar also asked him to leave his both the constituencies, if he can't prove his allegation. Therefore, now he has stopped speaking about that.
There are corruption charges against some of your candidates like the Reddy brothers. Do you feel it may affect your prospects here?
'Corruption' is a major issue that we have raised in this elections against the ruling government. But, can you prove corruption charges against the two Reddy brothers, who are our election candidates? Has even a single FIR been registered? Sriramlu has become part of our party long back. Not a single charge has been proved against him.
Many of your party members have expressed displeasure over the ticket distribution in the state. Has this issue been tackled?
There is no report on infighting. There may be 15 claimants for a single constituency, but only one can get the ticket. Now, we all are together and united.
The Congress has described BJP's election manifesto as 'tokenism'. Rahul Gandhi has rated it one out of five.
Do you expect Congress to praise our manifesto? But, show me a single real number in their manifesto. That is 'tokenism'. We have come out with concrete numbers and set clear targets that will be fulfilled. Few existing schemes have been evaluated after identifying loop-holes. BJP does not believe in replacing good projects. This is not our politics.
There is a constant dispute over Cauvery water distribution between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Do you believe that if BJP comes to power, the matter can be resolved amicably?
See, the matter is sub-judice. So I don't like to comment on that. There is a set mechanism to address such issues. Wherever we have a government; we resolved such matters properly. In Madhya Pradesh, the Narmada issue got resolved. There was another issue on water distribution of the river Tapi between Maharastra and Gujarat. It too got resolved without any fuss.
Will the outcome of Karnataka elections' have a bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections?
Every election has its own importance in Indian democracy, and Karnataka is a large state. It is important to us because this win would be the 'gateway' to the southern part of India.
What is your take on simultaneous elections?
There should be an Act on simultaneous elections. The law commission is yet to make their report public. Once that happens, there can be a discussion on the issue.
The Opposition parties are talking about 1:1 fight for the impending LS elections. As ruling party president, how do you respond?
It is their concern and their decision. We will fight under any circumstances.
Other Assembly elections are due this year in three BJP- ruled states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and another North-East state of Mizoram. What is your expectation?
For Mizoram, I cannot say anything. BJP, however, has improved its position there. But still, it is a new state for us. But we are going to retain the other three states.