Bharatiya Janata Party State president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has just completed his 85-day pre-election tour of all the 224 Assembly constituencies, has said that if his party is voted to power, it will reopen all the cases related to alleged scams in the Congress dispensation that have got relief from the State investigation agencies. In an interview, Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is also the party’s chief ministerial candidate, accused the Congress government of indulging in large-scale mismanagement in various sectors and welfare schemes, including the flagship scheme of Anna Bhagya.
Excerpts from the interview.
What was your experience and feedback of Parivarthana Yatra?
It was the biggest political yatra in the State as 11,000 km were covered in 85 days. The yatra increased our confidence of winning a minimum of 125 seats, even if the elections are held today. The feedback we got is that people are fed-up with the Congress and that they want a change.
How do you rate the performance of the Siddaramaiah government?
There is complete mismanagement of government schemes and administration. On the one hand, the government talks of Anna Bhagya scheme as its flagship programme. But on the other, there are efforts to divert the rice meant for the scheme to black market. Officials have lost confidence in this dispensation and have been approaching me with complaints. We will inquire into all these issues if voted to power.
What are your advantages as well as key challenges?
The failures of the Siddaramaiah government on all key fronts, especially failure to provide drinking water and complete irrigation projects, and a series of scams are our advantages. The key challenge is selection of candidates, given the intense competition for ticket. We have already done a survey on “winnability” of candidates and we are going to have two more.
The BJP organisation appears to be weak in Old Mysuru region. Is it possible to reach your target of winning 150 seats given this?
Several strong candidates have been joining the party from the Old Mysuru region such as Mandya, Ramanagaram, Chamarajanagar, and Kolar. This will help us to make inroads.
Some of your party leaders, including Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde and Pratap Simha, have issued controversial statements. Will this not affect your poll prospects?
Anantkumar Hegde has already apologised in the Lok Sabha. We have already told him and Mr. Pratap Simha to be careful with their statements.
BJP central leadership appears to have tied your hands and curtailed your freedom by taking over the entire organisational responsibility?
It is not correct to say that. In fact, the central leadership has given me full freedom to execute responsibilities as party State unit president. It is looking into candidate selection as there is heavy competition.
Some Congress leaders are saying that it is going to be Siddaramaiah vs Narendra Modi in the forthcoming elections rather than Siddaramaiah vs you?
The Chief Minister does not have the capacity and merit to compare himself with the Prime Minister.