Infighting has ceded space for BJP: Muralidhar Rao

Infighting has ceded space for BJP: Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao

BJP would have been at a disadvantage in a triangular contest in Karnataka than in a straight fight against coalition candidates, opines P Muralidhar Rao, BJP general secretary and Karnataka incharge. He spoke to Akram Mohammed of DH. Excerpts

What are BJP’s prospects in Karnataka in the coming elections? You are contesting 27 of the 28 seats

In all the 28 seats - 27 BJP and one where we are backing an independent candidate - we are increasingly gaining confidence. Our record will be better than the 17 seats we won in 2014. Our position is improving by the day and we will leave our stamp ahead of elections. The BJP will break all records of the past even in Mysuru region.

Does the larger vote share of the Congress-JD(S) coalition dent BJPs prospects?

The main objective of the alliance, where Congress is acting as a subordinate to JD(S), was aimed at stopping BJP. The coalition was formed keeping Congress’ Delhi interests in mind. They thought that the vote share arithmetic would automatically benefit them. However, there is no chemistry between the partners. The rivalry between grassroots workers of the coalition is hampering their campaign. Both the parties are losing heavily as workers and leaders are shifting to BJP.

You mean to say, the alliance will have no effect at all?

Yes, and it is actually an advantage for us. If it was a triangular fight we were at a greater disadvantage. Today, they have ceded the space for BJP, which we are capturing.
Alliance, in fact, has disadvantaged both the parties and is a disincentive for workers. It has created a negative image of the coalition government, discouraging voters from opting for the alliance.

Will anti-incumbency against sitting MPs be a factor?

No. Election narratives today are transcending from personal (MP) level to national level. The ability of BJP MPs to provide assurance and stability based on Modi’s achievements is helping the party’s campaign.

Do you think candidates seeking votes in the name of Modi and not on their own credentials is a good trend in democracy?

All electoral battles are dynamic and contextual. You can’t take past example of candidates seeking votes for themselves and impose it now. Why is Modi brought in? Because, it is very easy to show that there is nothing against Modi. If we do not bring in Modi, we are not utilising our advantage.

So, do you think these MPs cannot get elected on their own?

Never have MPs won on their own. Never have Modi or BJP won on their own. It’s all a combined effort. BJP is just using the Modi advantage, whereas people who do not have such advantage complain.

What about the turf war between RSS and BJP over candidate selection in Karnataka? 

It’s a media creation. First of all, RSS is a non-political organisation in contrast with BJP, a political party. Why should there be a conflict between the two in politics. Politics is the domain of BJP and there is no reason for RSS to have conflict with it.