Hyderabad: Bharatiya Janata Party candidate for the Rajampet Lok Sabha seat D. Purandeswari tells Coreena Suares that she is confident that the BJP’s alliance partner Telugu Desam will work to ensure the victory of BJP candidates in the constituencies allotted to them.
Was Rajampet constituency your choice or your party's choice?
It was my party's choice. In 2004, I contested from Bapatla. In the delimitation Bapatla became a reserved constituency and I was asked to contest from Visakhapatnam, but since BJP had already selected a senior leader Kambhampati Hari Babu for Visakhapatnam, Rajampet was allotted to me.
You had left your “family party” as it were (the TD) and joined the Congress earlier, and now you are contesting on a BJP ticket. Your migration has been commented upon. What are your plans if you win as a BJP candidate?
I was never in any party before 2004. Though my husband was, my entry was only in 2004, in the Congress party. The manner in which the state was divided was the reason I resigned from my ministry and wrote to the PM and the Congress president, that the manner in which the (Telangana) Bill was presented to the Assembly was not acceptable to me because it did not do justice to Seemandhra. The Polavaram project is very important for Seemandhra. When the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it did not create confidence that Seemandhra would gain from the Polavaram project. Similarly, the clause regarding higher education institutions and many other clauses in the Bill did not make me feel comfortable that justice had been done to the residual state of AP. So the moment the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, I sent in my resignation. For me, joining a national party was important if I wanted to continue in politics, so I joined the BJP.
In his public meetings TD supremo Mr Naidu has never uttered a word about you, nor mentioned support to you. Does this indicate rivalry within the family? Voters are confused about your stand vis a vis the NTR family?
If you heard his Mandanapalli speech, there was a reference by Mr Naidu that the party cadre and leaders should support all the BJP candidates as there is an alliance between the two parties. This implies support to me; Mandanapalli is part of my constituency. During his visit to Madanapalle Mr Naidu had sent out a clear message to TD leaders and cadres that they should all set aside their differences and work hard for the victory of the TD-BJP candidates.
You have no connection with Rajampet. Why did your party not give you a ticket to contest from your previous constituency? On what basis do you ask people to support you?
My father declared himself the adopted son of Rayalseema and he was loved by people from across AP. I am also appealing to the people to look at my past record as a Member of Parliament and vote for me on that basis.
Rajampet parliamentary constituency has a Muslim majority. Since you are now with the BJP, on whom are you banking?
I am banking on all sections of people. I am sure that the minorities will look at me as a candidate and then would support me as well.
Issues like drinking water and unemployment plague Rajampet. How will you deal with them if you are elected?
For drinking water Polavaram, Telugu Ganga project and Handrineeva are all important. For unemployment, we need to invite industries - small, medium and large - to set up here and provide employment.