Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha MP Ananth Kumar Hegde first gained national attention when in 1994, during curfew, he broke the police cordon and hoisted the flag and sang the national anthem in the controversial Idgah Maidan in Hubli. His fierce Hindutva ideology has brought him along way and made him a Union Minister now, reported Kannada Prabha.
The Hubli Idgah Maidan incident was the stepping stone for Ananthakumar Hegde because within the next two years he contested and won the 1996 Lok Sabha election from Uttara Kannada. After that he won again in 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014. He lost the elections only once against Margaret Alva.
Ananth Kumar Hegde is always surrounded by young people. He arrives wherever there is an issue of Hindutva. He is known for his strong worded speech. During the election campaign he had made a controversial statement that he did not want Muslim votes, calling them ungrateful. He had openly declared that he would not woo anybody to win. He is always in the forefront of any Yatra, Mela, rallies and conventions organised by the Sangh Pariwar.
Ananth Kumar never resorted to money politics. Instead people always supported his rallies and programmes because of his charisma. He only says he is a patriot and if people want him they should elect and accordingly people have elected him. For his rallies people use their money to arrange it.
Ananth Kumar Hegde is a Tae Kwon Do champion. Even now he practices Karate every morning. He is known to have used Karate kicks when political influence has not worked. In 2016 he was accused of assaulting a doctor in Sirsi hospital. In Karwar he assaulted BJP workers. His statement during Bhatkal incident also had generated controversy. However, none of the complaints against him stand any ground and he has come out clean.
He is the founder president of Kadamba Foundation, a non government organisation. He has implemented several projects for farmers and poor. He implemented several new projects under National Horticulture Mission, Agriculture Mission, Spices Board.
In an interview to Kannada Prabha at New Delhi Ananth Kumar Hegde shared his thoughts and views on various issues.
Did you expect the minister’s post? When did you first hear of it?
Everything was unexpected for me. From the time I entered politics to the time I was sworn in as the Union Minister I did not expect anything. I did not even aspire to be in politics. I entered as RSS elders told me to contest. I did not have any expectations of becoming a minister or heading a particular portfolio. When did I get the information is not important now.
How will you handle new responsibilities?
I will have the similar responsibilities as the other ministers have. The workload might increase. You will have to wait to see anything about my working style.
You are a strong Hindutva preacher. Is that why you were chosen?
Hindutva and nationalism are not separate identities. I strongly propagate nationalism. Do not separate Hindutva from patriotism. It is foolish to consider Hindutva and nationalism as matters of controversy.
Sources say you are made a minister in the view of the 2018 Assembly elections...
In both 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2018 Assembly elections, BJP will come out with flying colours. BJP will come to power in Karnataka too. We will successfully face the elections and come to power under the leadership of BS Yeddyurappa. In Karnataka, Congress is not even a challenge for us. Congress will see the same fate it has seen in other states in the country.
What are your views on the Lingayat independent religion debate which is growing strong?
It is not right for politicians to debate the religious nuances. It should be done at the appropriate forum. Thinkers, scholars and religious heads of the respective religion must debate. Political parties must stay away from religion. Politics should not be mixed with religious issues. Hence BJP has refrained from making any comment regarding Lingayat issue.
You are elected fifth time as the MP. Are you planning to give anything back to Uttara Kannada district?
I am a Minister for the entire country and not just for Uttara Kannada. Some media houses and thinkers treat politics as a package. Every election is not account of profit and loss. Just because I have become a minister you cannot expect what my district, my State will gain by that. Politics is not a package.
Your district has several problems. What do you have to say about Kasturi Rangan Report?
Is Kasturi Rangan Report limited to only Uttara Kannada?
When will you visit your constituency?
I haven’t thought of that. I have work here. I may be able to go after three or four days.