Nation Politics 09 Jan 2017 I don’t dictat ...

I don’t dictate terms in BJP: Shobha Karandlaje, MP

Published Jan 9, 2017, 1:43 am IST
Updated Jan 9, 2017, 6:26 am IST
She spoke about a wide range of issues from building the BJP to taking on the Congress government in Karnataka.
Shobha Karandlaje, MP
 Shobha Karandlaje, MP

Udupi-Chikkamgaluru MP and BJP  state general secretary, Shobha Karandlaje has recently been accused of influencing party decisions. Many workers and legislators too feel the same and say this is happening because of her proximity to former CM and party state president B.S. Yeddyurappa .

But Ms Karandlaje, a firebrand politician, is not ready to accept this criticism. She counters the allegations with potent logic during an interview with Deccan Chronicle. She spoke about a wide range of issues from building the BJP to taking on the Congress government in Karnataka. Here are excerpts from the interview.


A few months have passed after B.S. Yeddyurappa took over as party state unit president. Can you, as one of the general secretaries, assess the work done and the mood in the BJP after he took charge?
Party workers are upbeat. After his entry and the party announcing him as the Chief Ministerial candidate, both workers and office bearers are confident that the BJP can come to power in Karnataka.

All the party morchas and other cells have been very active. We have ensured setting up of committees till the lowest level, i.e, the booths. Now, the annual revision of voters list will take place and our party workers will have a big responsibility on their hands. We have adopted a three-pronged strategy.


Every month, we take up one big issue (on the Congress government's failures) and launch a public agitation. It is the ruling party which has been giving us issues because of the blunders it committed.

Then, we have to popularise the Central government’s programmes like Jan Dhan, Beti Padao Beti Bachao and schemes for the people.  Then comes the tasks of building the organisation and gearing up the cadre for the next assembly polls

You said the Congress government has committed blunders. But recently your party MP from Dakshina Kannada, Naleen Kumar Kateel made a fiery speech inviting an FIR and then, the MP from the neighbouring constituency Anant Kumar Hegde attacked doctors for allegedly not tending to his mother. Will these acts not affect the party's image?
These are all individual statements or actions and not initiated or backed by the party.  Nothing will happen to the party's image. But, locally it can cause setback.


We in the BJP have a tradition of calling the errant leaders and guiding them and if they have committed serious mistakes, the party seniors will discuss the action to be taken. When our government was in power in the state, allegations against ministers were made. We immediately took action against them.

Has the party decided to take any action against Anant Kumar Hegde who bashed up doctors?
I am not the competent person to reply to this. Party central leaders will take a decision since he is a MP.

On seeing the actions of these MPs, people tend to feel that the BJP regime from 2008-13 was a bad dream which they don't want to see repeated in Karnataka...
I beg to differ with you. You seem to be comparing the blunders of the Congress government and the action of one or two leaders of our party. When we were in power, we might have fought among ourselves, but we never failed in dispensing our duties or implementing programmes.


Now, after seeing the performance of the Congress party, people are openly saying that BJP rule was far better.

I can name several programmes introduced by Mr Yeddyurappa. The majority of the programmes launched by Mr Yeddyurappa were stopped by this government. A well-governed state will not have this issue. Irrespective of the party which is in power, the government has to continue programmes taken up by the previous regime. Here it is not the case. People want the BJP to come back to power so that it can continue the good programmes it had launched in the past.


You are saying your programmes are still hailed by the public. But, there is an impression that ever since Mr Yeddyurappa took over as president of party state unit, he has only held jaati samaaveshas and has not come out with a road map for solving problems the state is facing..
Recently I met Dr K. Kasturirangan on my way to Delhi. He is a scientist, not a politician. He told me that BJP did a lot of things. Before coming to power for the first  time, we had confusion about governance. We set up ABIDE and many such think tanks and members of them are still in touch with us. But you see the Congress government. They have no experts nor any direction.


There is a fundamental problem with your approach towards governance and development. Take the Yettinahole project for instance. Dakshina Kannada MP, Naleen Kumar Kateel opposes the project while your leader B.S. Yeddyurappa say the project will be implemented.
No, there is no confusion. What Mr Yeddyurappa told people in Kolar the other day was they would be given drinking water. There is confusion about the availability of water in Yettinahole. While scientists from IISc say there is insufficient water, another expert says there is enough water.


Then there is the question about the site where the dam should be built for 20 tmc of water. Where can we build such a big dam to store 20 tmc of water?  When we were in power, we were planning to bring Hemavathy water to Kolar because Hemavathy water has reached Tumakuru. So, our demand to the government is: first study the water availability and other aspects and then we can decide whether to proceed with the project or not. If rivers within Karnataka are linked, I think this problem cand be solved easily.

Moving on, many people are saying that since you have taken over as general secretary, you have not paid much attention to Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency.
As BJP general secretary, I have to go around the state, because it is a demanding assignment. I am doing my duty as MP. One, I am a law maker and I am focusing on my role as policy maker. Then, I am putting in as much effort possible to get central funds for my constituency. But, I agree that I could not give more time to my constituency.


Many in the party say you have not changed. You still influence a lot of decisions. What do you feel?
No, this is not true. Ours is a national party and I cannot dictate terms. Some people who are envious of me may speak like this.

Do you mean to say that since it is a male dominated field, men who do not like your growth, make such comments?
No. (laughs) In politics, men too suffer.

Isn't it true that your loyalty is more towards Mr Yeddyurappa than to the party?
This again is a mischievous one. I am a loyal soldier of the party. Mr Yeddyurappa is party state unit president and he has been appointed by the party central leadership. So, there is nothing wrong in me being loyal to Mr Yeddyurappa, the state president. I have worked with many party state presidents including Basavaraj Patil Sedam, Ananth Kumar, D.V. Sadanada Gowda and Jagadish Shettar. You can ask them about my work.


Finally after V. Srinivas Prasad (former revenue minister and Congress leader), who are the other leaders who will join the BJP? Many party workers feel that when BJP comes to power after the polls, outsiders will join the party and enjoy power while genuine party workers will be left out.
We are weak in Mandya, Ramanagara, Kolar and Hassan. There is nothing wrong in leaders who accept our principles joining the party.

If we come to power, the central leaders will decide who should be in the cabinet. They will certainly take care of party interests.


Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru