In an exclusive interview with Asianet Newsable's Mohammed Yacoob, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's son and BJP leader B Y Vijayendra takes on critics both within and outside the BJP. The BJP's Karnataka Vice President also clarifies his stand on contentious issues like reopening of schools and the hotly-debated 'Love Jihad' bill.
You were behind the BJP takedown of the JD-S bastion of Krishnaraja Pete last year. Are you sure of repeating the same in the Sira assembly seat?
We are very confident simply because even we never expected such a good response from voters of Sira constituency. Once we started our campaign, we could make out that people were fed up with the Congress and JDS, and had made up their mind for a change. They felt that BJP is the right choice in the interest of their constituency. And the voters felt that BJP is the only alternative. I am very confident that people will support, as they have already voted for the BJP.
There were reports of you contemplating contesting from Sira considering that JD-S was reportedly planning to field Nikhil Kumaraswamy (HD Kumaraswamy's son)
I don't think it is true. As far as I am concerned, the party wanted me to work in the Sira constituency. I, our Deputy CM Karjola (Govind Karjola) and all our leaders -- our aim was only to make sure that the BJP wins the Sira assembly by-election. And we have successfully done that.
Few leaders in the BJP are reportedly planning to unseat your father from the chief minister's post. What do have you to say?
It's not true. There is no iota of truth in this. Of course, couple of leaders have expressed their views in the media. But our state party president, Nalin Kumar Kateel has clearly stated that there is no thinking on those lines. He has said that Yediyurappa will complete his tenure as the chief minister.
In the political circles, there is talk that you will be taking over the baton from your father and lead the party one day
BJP is a national party. They don't believe in family politics. As far I am concerned, I have been working in the party since the last couple of years. Party has identified my work. Earlier, I was the party's general secretary for the Yuva Morcha. Now, I have been promoted as party vice president. I am happy with the way things are going on. I am happy the way party has supported me. I am really happy the party has given me an opportunity to tour the state and work for the party
RR Nagar is a prestige battle for the Congress. How confident are you considering that it's a Congress bastion?
RR Nagar was earlier a Congress bastion. The BJP, which was in the number two position, had garnered around 82,000 votes in the last assembly elections. Since Munirathna is the candidate from BJP (now), his personal rapport coupled with BJP's support in this area is really much better than compared to any other political party. I am pretty sure that in RR Nagar Munirathna will win comfortably despite low turnout in the polls.
There were rumours of BJP leaders scuttled your political debut from Varuna in 2018 assembly elections.
It's Varuna assembly constituency from Mysuru district. The party ultimately decided not to give the ticket for me. At the end of the day, I did not feel bad because BJP and its high command had taken the decision. As a humble party worker, as a responsible member of this BJP, I am duty-bound to follow the direction given by state leaders as well as Delhi (Central BJP leaders). I accepted the decision.' I am working for the party. What went wrong? nothing went wrong.
Your father is walking a tightrope with regard to reopening educational institutions due to Covid-19. Your response?
It's a sensitive issue. The interest of the students has to be taken care of. I am sure our minister (Primary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar) as well as honourable Chief Minister will consult with other experts in this area and they will take a right decision in this regard.
The Opposition and your adversaries accuse you of interfering with Bengaluru administration.
See, Yediyurappa is a seasoned politician. There is no need for me to interfere in this regard. More importantly, BJP is a national party and we have senior leaders. Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is there, Minister Eshwarappa is there in the cabinet. So there is no iota of truth in this. Opposition, time and again, has alleged this. But the party does not believe all these (allegations).
Once again, I ask you -- Are you ready to head the party?
It is the party that has to take a call, not Yediyurappa. Of course, Yediyurappa is the senior-most leader in Karnataka BJP. He built the party along with other leaders, but ultimately it is a national party. National leaders and state leaders will have to take a call on this. It is too early. I have just entered politics. I am working as party's vice president and I am enjoying this position. Ultimately, the party will take a call. It's too early to talk on this issue.
The government is seriously considering introducing a law against 'Love Jihad'. What is your take on this?
It's the need of the hour. A number of girls have been exploited. So it is high time any government for that matter, takes a serious decision in this. Put a full stop and take this issue to the logical end. I am sure that the BJP government headed by Yediyurappa will take a serious note of the issue.
Last Updated 7, Nov 2020, 11:29 AM