Confident of winning the 224-seat Karnataka assembly election with a thumping majority, scheduled to be held on May 10, Home Minister Amit Shah is hopeful of scripting a record by forming the government for two consecutive terms in the southern state. The master strategist also made it abundantly clear that BJP would not go for any pre or post-poll alliance in Karnataka.
“I have spent nine days in Karnataka. I have visited all five regions of the state. From that, I can confidently tell you that we will secure more than the halfway mark and secure the absolute majority in the state. This will happen under the leadership of Modi. Don’t worry,” Shah said, much to the amusement of the audience, at the News18 Rising India Summit.
Categorically ruling out any tie-ups with JDS, Shah said BJP will fight all 224 seats in Karnataka on its own and the party is not looking at forming a coalition with any party in the state since it was confident of bettering its last election tally of 104 seats.
“There is no question of forging tie-up with any party,” Shah said, adding that the party would come out with its list of candidates following discussions with “lakhs of karyakartas”. Both Congress and JDS have already announced their first list of candidates.
Taking a sarcastic jibe at the former Congress, Shah said BJP can’t have a better-winning formula if the Congress fights the ensuing Karnataka assembly election pitting him against Prime Minister Modi.
“If they fight the (Karnataka) election projecting it as the Modi vs Gandhi fight, we have no objection. In Fact, for BJP, there could not be a better-winning formula than this,” Shah said amid gales of laughter from the audience at the News18 Rising India Summit.
While a section of political watchers in Delhi believes that Congress was badly in need of one Amit Shah in its camp to revive the grand old party; with a pinch of salt, they also opine that Gandhi has helped BJP to better its prospect in the national politics than no one else. Wherever Gandhi has campaigned in the run-up to various elections, Congress has only put-up poor shows.
Taking a pot-shot at the Congress for effecting a 4% reservation for the Muslims in the OBC category in Karnataka, which the BJP government scrapped recently and distributed the same between the Vokkaligas and Veerashiva-Lingayats, Shah said the step to scrap the quota should have been taken much earlier as reservation based on religion was unconstitutional.
However, Shah’s tirade against Congress did not stop at that. On a question on Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha and subsequent ruckus being created by the Congress, Shah said, “Why does the Gandhi family want a separate law for itself? People of India need to decide if we need a separate law for one family.”
Gandhi has recently been disqualified as a member of Lok Sabha following a Surat Court convicted him for his derogatory remark on the “Modi” community. Subsequently, Gandhi was also asked to vacate his official bungalow. Congress is trying to project the whole episode as a conspiracy against its leader and gain political mileage out of it ahead of crucial elections in various states but has not appealed in any higher court so far against the conviction.
Suggesting Gandhi move to higher courts against the conviction, and not to blame Prime Minister, Shah observed that it was Rahul Gandhi’s arrogance that has prevented him so far from appealing to a higher court. “Where does this arrogance generate from? Lalu Prasad, J Jayalalithaa, and Rashid Alvi were among 17 people who lost their membership but no one created a ruckus,” Shah reminded Congress.
Answering to a question on the left-wing extremism (LWE), Shah said the situation has improved a lot in the last nine years of BJP rule in the Centre and the LSW-related incidents are constantly on the wane. Though they have some insignificant presence in some few districts in a couple of states, the fight against the menace is on its way to victory. The number of LWE-related violent incidents has come down by 76%, he said.
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