Lok Sabha 2019: Karnataka BJP seeks clean sweep in polls
In an exclusive interview, Ravi said the BJP has maintained its vote share consistently. The BJP has come close on many occasions and seeks to cross the finish line in Karnataka, triumphantly in all 28 seats.
Bengaluru: Karnataka's firebrand Hindu BJP leader CT Ravi, who enjoys the confidence of the party high command, said that the party will aim at winning all 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.
He expressed confidence that the combination of Prime Minster Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah is here to stay and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will come back to power in 2019 despite the negative outcome in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.
Speaking to Newsable, Ravi said, "The BJP won 17 states in 2014 under PM Narendra Modi and the party president Amit Shah's guidance and the Congress has only six states now. This number speaks a lot."
On the recent losses in three states, Ravi expressed confidence that the BJP will be voted back to power in 2019.
"In MP had BJP got 4,000 votes more we would have got 14 more seats. What I mean to say is many of our legislators lost by a very close margin. Two Congress candidates lost by a close margin of 500 votes and from the BJP there are over a dozen. The Congress secured 114 seats and BJP 109. This is proof that BJP is not washed out like Congress in many states. Similarly, in Rajasthan, had BJP got 85,000 votes, our numbers would have increased. We are down but not out in these two states," said Ravi, who had served as a Karnataka higher education minister.
The dip in vote share in Chhattisgarh is the only worrying factor for the BJP, according to Ravi, who says the party will work out strategies to come back strongly.
On the trends in Karnataka, Ravi said the BJP has maintained its vote share consistently.
"If we take our past records from Karnataka itself, the BJP has always increased its tally. Our vote share of 5 to 7% increases in every Lok Sabha election. In 2009, the BJP got 19 out of 28 seats, in 2013 when the Congress was in power in the state, the BJP managed to get 17 seats. Since ours is a cadre-based party, the party will maintain its record," opined Ravi.
With the Vokkaliga factor dominating in Southern Karnataka comprising old Mysuru region like Mysuru-Kodagu, Hassan, Mandya, Chamrajanagar, Bengaluru, Kolar, Tumkur, Chikkamagaluru and Chikkaballapura, where BJP has not managed to make inroads, except in few segments, the BJP is planning to make Ravi as the Vokkaliga face of the party to consolidate vote to take on former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda of the JD(S) and the Congress’ DK Shivakumar in the long run.
"I am a Vokkaliga but when it comes to politics, I am the face of the BJP. We do not reach the top as it happens in the JD(S) and Congress where family and dynasty is taken as a yardstick. In the BJP, we only go by hard work and honesty. These factors will help us in the long run," Ravi argued.
On election preparations in Karnataka
Following the defeats in three north Indian states on December 11, the BJP called an emergency meeting and on December 15, the party laid out a 79-day plan that will end in the second week of February and this plan will basically cover reaching out to the public individually and the use of social media platforms.
"Amit Shah Ji was supposed to have a convention in Karnataka on January 9 after meeting Lingayat seer Shivakumar Swamiji. This meeting will be held on January 16. The idea is to strengthen the party base," he said.
How many seats will BJP win from Karnataka?
To a question on how many seats BJP will win from Karnataka to consolidate its position in 2019, Ravi said the BJP does not want to undermine its strength and will make efforts to win all the 28.
As there are rumours of the BJP dislodging the coalition government in Karnataka, Ravi clarified that the party will not disturb but hinted that it will not be a silent spectator in case the government collapses.
" If we get an opportunity in Karnataka, we will form the government," Ravi said.
On JD(S) track record of backstabbing
Ravi recalled the 2007 incident on how the JD(S) withdrew its support after finishing their pre-decided 20-month quota in power and without handing over the position of chief minister to BS Yeddyurappa, HD Kumaraswamy dissolved the government.
The statements from chief minister Kumaraswamy alleging coalition partner Congress of tying his hands and airing comments that puts Congress on uncomfortable position and Congress alleging HD Kumaraswamy's brother Revanna acting as Super CM are indications that JD(S) may part ways anytime. "Here it's only a coalition government here and not the government with confidence," said Ravi.
On Yeddyurappa and leadership vacuum in BJP?
Ravi said the BJP is not like other parties – the JD(S) and Congress that goes by 'DNA' factor in giving tickets and positions. Here it's only the cadre and based on ideology, he said.
"Yeddyurappa was a leader accepted by the BJP long time ago, but after the 2007 incident when he was denied the chief minister post, the entire community of the Lingayat owned and backed him. Since the BJP does not go by the political legacy there are many who will lead the BJP down the lane after Yeddyurappa," Ravi stressed.