‘Voters are mature, will back BJP’

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Seeking re-election as Dharwad MP for the fourth time, and working towards the victory of the BJP here for the seventh consecutive time, Pralhad Joshi is banking on Modi-led Central government’s works in the last five years, including those in this constituency.

Urging people to vote for him to make Narendra Modi the prime minister again, and to achieve better development in his constituency, the BJP candidate clarifies that he did not target Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni personally.

In an interview with DH, Joshi observed that the voters here are well-aware of the facts, and they are also liberal. Caste politics and politically-motivated blame on him would not work in this elections, he says.

Excerpts:

On what basis you are seeking votes this time?

We are seeking votes purely on performance basis. For the first time after Atal Bihari Vajapayee government, voters are being asked to support us on the basis of works done under Narendra Modi government in last five years, and my performance.

Compared to 2009 elections, your winning margin was less in 2014. You have started campaigning early this time. Was it necessary if you are so confident of the fourth consecutive win?

Last time, I was State BJP president, and I had to tour the entire State. This time, I have more time to focus on my constituency.

I have reached all places across the constituency, works are done, and I am always accessible for people since last 15 years.

Pramod Muthalik and few independent candidates bagged a few BJP votes last time, and my winning margin was less by 15,000 votes compared to 2009. That will add this time, and my winning margin will increase. My confidence level is also more this time

What do you say about Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni alleging that you conspired to tarnish his image in Dharwad building collapse incident, and in filing of an FIR against him in connection with Yogishgouda Goudar murder case?

No BJP leader, including myself, stated that the building belongs to Vinay Kulkarni’s father-in -law, but we just demanded proper probe, and condemned the greed of builders. They themselves said everything and blamed us. Is Pralhad Joshi responsible for everything said by others?

The FIR against Vinay in Goudar murder case issue was filed as per the High Court order. Is he not questioning the credibility of the judiciary by saying that I hatched a conspiracy for that? People are mature enough and they understand everything.

I do dot target anybody personally, but Vinay is being haunted by ‘Joshi phobia’.

Lingayats are a deciding community here, and what you see in the Congress candidate seeking Lingayat votes openly?

People are liberal and they do not vote based on caste. Also, there is no meaning in the allegation that Jagadish Shettar was not given importance. He is the second top most leader in the State BJP.

This election is more about who should lead the country for better security and development, than electing a MP. People are not narrow-minded, they know who spoiled the system during their 58-year rule.

BJP was criticised in Mahadayi issue, and so far, you have campaigned more in rural areas. Is it a damage control move?

No. People know the politics behind blaming BJP in Mahadayi issue. Therefore, those who politicised the issue were defeated in the Assembly elections in the Malaprabha command area itself.

The Centre cannot intervene when the issue is before the tribunal, unless States concerned come forward for talks. We tried that too, but the Goa Congress opposed. Now too, how the Centre can issue the notification, when the States have appealed and sought clarification over the tribunal’s verdict? Using this issue, they just wanted to blame Modi. But, we are committed to get the State’s share in Mahadayi water.

Will the JD(S) support to Congress impact your prospects?

JD(S) never performed well in LS polls here, and has no base here. Its support to Congress will not matter.

BJP often faces the allegation of being communal, and getting votes through such a policy

We are for the nation. It is the Congress which is following Muslim-appeasement policy. Who will fight against terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir if the powers of the army are withdrawn there? But, the Congress wants to do that now.

What would be your priorities if you get elected for the fourth time?

Good rural roads, tap water in all villages, food processing industries to help farm sector, and large industries to generate more employment. Infrastructure required for this is are already being developed.

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‘Voters are mature, will back BJP’

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