‘And the same trust was evident in the Karnataka election.’
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao, MP, credits the victory in Karnataka to Prime Minister Narendra D Modi, BJP President Amit A Shah’s election management and strategy and the party’s chief minister nominee B S Yeddyurappa’s leadership.
Rediff.com‘s Prasanna D Zore listens in.
How do you explain the BJP’s resurgence in Karnataka?
This is a very positive verdict for the BJP and shows that the people have supported the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra D Modi. This is also reaffirmation of the people (of Karnataka) in the national leadership.
Simultaneously, this is also a huge rejection of the Congress party and the kind of divisive politics it engages in.
Did Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s announcement as a contender for prime minister in 2019 backfire on the party?
I don’t think so because I am sure nobody takes Rahul Gandhi very seriously. That comment, if any, had only entertainment value.
Did the proposal to grant minority religion status to the Lingayats backfire on the Congress?
Siddaramaiah, in the last six to eight months, had resorted to lot of gimmicks and the Lingayat issue was yet another gimmick that he played to divide the people of Karnataka on caste lines.
But the voters of Karnataka have rejected his divisive politics and it could not become a poll issue because people saw through the Congress’ motives.
What are the three important factors that worked for the BJP?
First and foremost, the leadership of the prime minister and the second is the election management and the manner in which national president Amit A Shah conceived, planned and executed the entire party strategy from the booth level upwards.
This had had a big morale boost for the BJP because in this election the BJP was not a very major force in Karnataka.
So, we had to ensure that every positive move had to be converted into a vote for the party this election.
The election management and strategy of Mr Amit A Shah played a huge role (in the Karnataka election) and the sheer hard work of our party karyakartas (workers) resulted in the kind of numbers the BJP is seeing in Karnataka.
Finally, the effective leadership at the state level (of B S Yeddyurappa).
Despite all the mudslinging by the Opposition, and all their attempts to paint Yeddyurappa negatively, people recalled his stint as the Karnataka chief minister (from 2008 to 2012) and the positive governance he had offered to all sections of the people in Karnataka.
He is seen in Karnataka as a pro-farmer, pro-rural leader and that explains the gains made by the BJP in rural areas.
So, Mr Yeddyurappa will be the next chief minister of Karnataka?
Yes. We have already made that announcement (during the election campaign).
Apart from being a senior BJP leader you also happen to be a psephologist.
Donning that hat could you tell us what explains the BJP leading in more than 100 seats?
This has happened before also in Karnataka. It happened in the 2008 (assembly election) also.
Despite having secured a percentage vote share less than the Congress we secured a near majority of 110 seats.
This happens because of favourable distribution of BJP voters which is not so with the Congress voters.
Similarly, in Goa (the assembly election in 2017), the BJP had more vote share, but the Congress scored more seats than us.
Is the Karnataka victory a huge morale boost for the BJP going into the 2019 general election?
Prime Minister Modi’s magic in 2019 will be very much intact and he will be the numero uno factor for the BJP.
With Karnataka and Gujarat and many assembly elections before that, he has consistently proved that the people of India trust him more than any other leader from other parties.
It is the trust that he enthuses in the Indian people that has helped him connect with India’s masses.
And the same trust was evident in the Karnataka election.
The victory there (in Karnataka) will help the party and the cadre face the coming assembly elections and the general election next year with heightened positivity and confidence.