Pratap Simha walks tightrope on contentious issues

Pratap Simha walks tightrope  on contentious issues


Pratap Simha, the BJP candidate from Mysore constituency is a political greenhorn who has entered the fray with Narendra Modi’s blessings.

He is not new to controversies or raking up contentious issues. He claims to have command over most subjects. But gets uncomfortable even talking about certain issues, which he calls “contentious”. Excerpts from an interview with Ashwini Y S of Deccan Herald.
 
Have you had the time to study the constituency? How are you attracting the voter?

This election is being fought on national issues, and not local issues. Anger towards the sitting MP (A H Vishwanath) is palpable.

He has done nothing, but hold press meets. This is working in my favour, in addition to my reader base and the Modi wave.

Are you saying that you will win these elections on your reader base and Modi’s
popularity alone?

I have understood the constituency’s problems. I don’t talk about them, because the nation wants to see Modi elected as the prime minister. The Congress government has done nothing to create jobs in Mysore. It has completely neglected developing air, road and rail connectivity to Mysore, hampering its tourism prospects.  I am a fresh face and there is a need for new leadership to represent a young, modern India.

What is your take on issues like pub culture, gay marriages, live-in relationships and inter-religious marriages?

I know where you are going with this question. I don’t want to take a stand on these issues during election time. In fact, I don’t want to go ahead with this interview.
I am here to address people’s problems and not to talk about who is living with whom, who is falling in love with whom.


So your party is only offering jobs and not peace and security?

The pub attacks were instigated by the media. A journalist was also arrested in this connection.

Gay marriages or inter-religious marriages are an individual’s choice. I have nothing against gay marriage, because I have seen certain individuals being forced into homosexuality for lack of opportunities. These individuals need to be given therapy and reformed. But the individuals have to ensure that they are not hurting their parents’ sentiments.

So, if it is a family matter, what right does it give political organisations or outfits to intervene and indulge in moral policing?

One party cannot be blamed for these incidents. More than Hindutva outfits, organisations like Karnataka Forum for Dignity are more active in Mangalore. Outfits belonging to all three religions have to be held equally responsible. It is a fact that all political parties try to cash in on ‘contentious’ issues like religion during polls.

There is discontent among party workers in the constituency not only over your candidature, but also with regard to your attitude. Your comments. 

Firstly, the unanimous decision to nominate me was taken in the BJP core committee meeting. The decision was based on the winnability. As far as my arrogance is concerned, one earns arrogance. If a person has command over a subject, he earns credibility. That is my capital. The fact remains that I am humble.

You have been strongly opinionated in your columns, why BJP?

No party is incorruptible. I needed an opportunity, and it was given to me by BJP. One can’t hope to contest as an Independent and bring about change.

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