‘BJP chief not a post, but a responsibility’

‘BJP chief not a post, but a responsibility’

New state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel. pic by Govindraj Javli.

Former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda was the first BJP leader from the coastal districts to be made state BJP president. Nalin Kumar Kateel, who had served as general secretary, vice president was finally made president. Before entering active politics, Kateel had served as RSS pracharak for 12 years.

In 2004, he was appointed the general secretary of Dakshina Kannada unit. The BJP fielded him from the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency in the 2009 elections. According to party sources, as ‘Saha Prabhari’ of Kerala, he had succeeded in impressing the BJP leaders about his leadership skills. Excerpts from the interview with Kateel during his visit to the BJP office here on Wednesday.

Q: You have been made president of state BJP on the recommendation of Chief Minister Yediyurappa or the party high command?

Kateel: Throughout my career I had never sought posts or positions. I was entrusted with responsibilities. After serving as RSS pracharak I was given the responsibility of ‘dharma jagaran’. I had served as general secretary and familarised myself with the party’s rank and file. Thus, this post of state BJP president is another responsibility and I am confident of fulfilling the expectations of the leaders. To make me the president was the
decision of team BJP and Chief
Minister Yediyurappa is also a member of team BJP.

Q: BJP MLAs who have failed to secure ministerial berths have been vocal in their criticism of the leadership.

Kateel: It is indeed a golden era for the party here, with Narendra Modi as prime minister and Yediurappa as chief minister. But the party has come to power in Karnataka under difficult circumstances. It is
natural for senior leaders to express disappointment. We do have team that will initiate discussions and pacify these leaders. We are confident that the leaders would not go against the party’s ideology. The chief minister is also a seasoned politician and will certainly tackle the situation.

Q: You said your priority is strengthening the party. Do you have a specific plan?

Kateel: The booth-wise Shakti Kendras in Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu districts had played a crucial role in the victory of BJP in the hustings. Such booth-wise Shakti Kendra models should be replicated in Hassan, Mysuru and other districts. A final decision will be taken in this regard after consulting senior leaders. We are confident that BJP will make each member feel important. We have more than 500 platforms which will help members showcase their skills. Nurturing such talent will not only result in the growth of the individual, but also the party.

Q:What are your immediate priorities?

Kateel: The party will focus on the implementation of the government schemes. We will start preparing for the byelections in 17 Assembly constituencies after the court’s decision. The party will also ensure there is co-ordination between the government and MPs, to prevent injustice to the state.

Q: There is resentment in public over the Centre’s delay in releasing funds for flood relief.

Kateel: There is a system in place. The government needs to submit a proposal to the Centre. I am sure the Centre will release the funds without further delay.