Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary, 76, is facing his ninth Parliamentary elections in Dakshina Kananda. He has won from the constituency four times in a row but has lost it as many times. The former Union Minster of State (1982-89), who shot to fame with his loan melas across the country, and later as a tough boss of the State unit of party (1990), spoke to The Hindu on various issues. Excerpts from the interview

On the one hand you say there is no Modi wave. But you have been saying that the fight is between you and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The BJP nominee is seeking votes in the name of Mr. Modi. That is why I said so. There is no Modi wave. It is only a hype created by the BJP. Do you know (Mr.) Modi actually destroyed Gujarat where unemployment has increased. When applications were called for 1,500 jobs, 13 lakh people applied.

Give me two reasons why people should vote for you?

Because they are looking for a person who will work for them, a fighter and a courageous man, who is clean and represent the issues in Parliament. And because I will bring projects that will create employment. Also my dream is to give reservation for the poorest among GSBs (Gowd Saraswat Brahmins).

Your announcement to create a petrochemical hub — covering 74,000 acres of land — has been opposed by the BJP and organisations have pointed out that it will wipe out agriculture…

It will give employment to 15 lakh youths. It will cover nine districts with Mangalore as the centre.

The land losers will get compensation equal to four times the market value in addition to job for each family. The law requires that 80 per cent of the land losers should give consent to the project. Only if that happens I will pursue it. Otherwise, no.

You have been speaking strongly against communalism and blaming the BJP for communalising the region. But observers have pointed out that while the BJP is aggressively promoting Hindutva, the Congress is practising soft Hindutva…

I have been living here fighting communal forces though there were threats to my life. Hinduism is not for polarisation and politicians should not create hatred.

Lately, you were seen shaking hands with RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat. He also visited Kudroli Temple (run by Billavas) where you greeted him.

When he comes to the temple, should I throw him out?

You also did not address a Congress gathering in Gurupura where people wanted you to speak strongly against Mr. Bhat.

Situation could have gone out of control had I done so.

On Yettinahole project, your party Minister U.T. Khader said nothing could be done as the project has already begun while you say you will not allow it…

Poojary is not (Mr.) Khader or (Union Minsiter M. Veerappa ) Moily . I go by the wish of the people. Some other projects could be given to Kolar (and other districts) to solve water problem there. It is possible to end water crisis there.

Mr. Moily has said you have not understood the project …

Let him say that. People understand what I say.

You and Mr. Moily are known rivals in the region known to have been working against each other.

I will not speak on that.


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