Yediyurappa interview Not right for BJP leaders to support hijab halal row Bengaluru

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Vijayendra filed his nomination from Shikaripura today. How was the response?

The response was great. We have confidence that we’ll win by over 50,000 votes. People came in large numbers, beyond what we expected, from all booths. We have worked really well at the booth level. Hence, we’ll get the maximum number of votes.

Also read | BS Yediyurappa takes a ride in his first ever car at Shikaripura. Watch

Do you have confidence that the BJP will get a clear majority?

We are 100% confident that we will get a full majority and will form the government.

But in the last 30 years, no incumbent government has come back to power. How do you think the BJP will form the government again?

I have travelled across the length and breadth of the state. I have confidence in the people. I’m seeing the trust people have for us. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah will visit again and the situation will improve. Our strength will increase. The Congress doesn’t have the kind of leaders we have. Rahul Gandhi has visited the state, but he is no match for PM Modi and Amit Shah.

In a rare gesture, Modi held your hands and walked with you during the Shivamogga airport inauguration, while Shah visited your residence in Bengaluru for breakfast. How is your relationship with PM Modi?

I have a lot of respect for Modiji. He’s a national leader and the entire world has recognised him. It’s rare that we have that kind of leadership. Hence, I have immense respect and trust in him. He has also showed the same respect and love towards me. Amit Shah also has the same kind of respect for me.

You’re considered one of the tallest Lingayat leaders in the BJP. Who is there in the BJP to fill your shoes?

We will decide after the elections. There are so many leaders from my community and other communities. They will take that responsibility.

Basavaraj Bommai will remain the face of the party, although the BJP has not declared him as its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections. Your thoughts?

He is doing good work. After elections, the legislature party will take the decision on who the next chief minister will be.

Do you think the exit of Jagdish Shettar and Laxman Savadi could dent the BJP’s Lingayat support in the elections?

Our party will not be affected in any way. I’m 100% confident about it. I’ve already said several times that there will be no impact. We have no done any injustice to Shettar. We have given him all kinds of promises. We asked him to come to the Centre and assured him that he would be made a Rajya Sabha member. We had asked him to field someone from his family. Even after making all sorts of promises, he didn’t oblige, and everyone knows this. He shouldn’t have taken such a decision.

There has been backlash regarding the internal reservation for scheduled castes (SCs), especially in your constituency, Shikaripura. Do you think the reservation issue can put the BJP in a tough spot?

The reservation we’ve given to the SCs will help them. It will not have any negative impact. The Banjara community is also happy. At today’s event as well, there were several leaders from the Banjara community. We will tour the entire state and try convince them.

You’ve said earlier that you don’t agree with the Tipu vs Savarkar narrative, and the hijab, halal row. But leaders in your party have expressed their support to these issues.

I’m not going to support such things. If other leaders in the party support such issues, it’s not right. I will talk to them and warn them not to talk in such a way.

There has been speculation of attempts by the high command to sideline you.

There is no question of anyone sidelining me. I resigned from the chief ministerial post on my own and said I won’t contest any elections. My party has not sidelined me.

What is your realistic assessment of the elections?

We will get an absolute majority. There is no doubt about it.

What is your next role in the BJP and on the next Lok Sabha elections?

In the Lok Sabha, we are going to get more than 25 seats. I will work towards it.

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