'Karnataka is BJP's door to south': Amit Shah on party's poll prospects and 2019 Lok Sabha elections
During a Bengaluru roadshow, BJP chief Amit Shah spoke with Firstpost on the party's prospects in the Karnataka polls and why these elections are so central to the party's future.
Even as the Karnataka polls draw near, campaigning has grown ever fiercer. Both sides have sent in their heavyweights — Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah for BJP and Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for Congress — for an all-out blitz.
During a Bengaluru roadshow, BJP chief Amit Shah spoke with Firstpost on the party's prospects in the polls and why these elections are so central to the party's future.
How important is the Karnataka elections for BJP?
Amit Shah: We are not taking any chances. It is very important for us. The Karnataka polls are the BJP's door to the south. This shows how much importance we are giving these elections.
Why should the people of Karnataka vote for BJP?
Amit Shah: In past five years, Siddaramaiah government failed in every aspect. Entire Bengaluru was handed over to George, Harish and Roshan Baig. The law and order situation is the worst under this government. Karnataka's development was stalled in Bengaluru traffic. The people of Karnataka want a strong BS Yeddyurappa government under Narendra Modi. In next five years, BJP government will take Karnataka on the path of development.
What are the main issues in the upcoming polls?
Amit Shah: Development, law and order, 3,500 farmers committed suicide under this government's watch. Corruption is a major issue. A chief minister who takes as a gift a watch worth Rs 40 lakh has no right to rule.
Your party hammered Siddaramaiah over corruption, but also gave tickets to the Reddy brothers of Bellary. What kind of message do you want to send voters?
Amit Shah: The two candidates we gave tickets have no pending cases against them, so the allegations are wrong.
Your party raised a hue and cry over the Karnataka government's move to give Lingayats minority status. You accused the Congress of divisive politics. What's your stand now?
Amit Shah: It's not an issue. Hence, there's no question of any stand.
You mean it's not an issue in this election...
Amit Shah: Yes. In this election, this is a non-issue.
Due to certain developments, there is a fear that BJP if comes to power, it will not let Yeddyurappa take over as chief minister...
Amit Shah: It is just an Opposition trick. It will not work. Yeddyurappa is our chief ministerial candidate. The BJP government in Karnataka will be headed by Yeddyurappa and he will complete his term.
Many pollsters are hinting that the people will return a fractured mandate. What's your prediction?
Amit Shah: I will be announcing my numbers at a press conference. We are comfortably ahead of our rivals, and will form the government in Karnataka with a clear majority.
Rahul said he is ready to become prime minister in 2019...
Amit Shah: I do not want to or like to comment on Rahul’s statements.
From Mamata Banerjee to K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Opposition is possibly gearing up for a third front. How do you plan to counter it?
Amit Shah: The Opposition has to first decide to come together.
Where will we see Amit Shah after 2019 parliamentary elections?
Amit Shah: That's for the party to decide.
What role will you play in Parliament?
Amit Shah: I'm a member of Parliament already.
Will you in the Cabinet?
Amit Shah: That's for the party to decide. I can't comment.
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