Bharatiya Janata Party State unit president and MP Pralhad Joshi maintains that in the absence of any major issues, development will be the only issue on which the ensuing Assembly elections will be fought.

While giving the party 75 to 80 marks for the development on a scale of 100, he expresses confidence that the development works undertaken by the BJP will help the party get a simple majority this time. According to him, several factors, including the disappointment in the Congress over distribution of ticket, will help the BJP.

In an interview with The Hindu, he seeks to play down the impact of three-way split suffered by the BJP with the quitting of the former Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa and the former Minister B. Sriramulu on its poll performance. He maintains that the wave in 2008 was for the party and not for any individual leader like B. S. Yeddyurappa.

Q: Is it possible for you to get a grip over the organisation in a short time as you were appointed BJP president after declaration of polls?

A: Personally it is too short a time. But it is not a problem as we have a system where a team of leaders together manages the show. Also, I was in touch with the happenings in the organisation since I was involved in the decision-making process in my capacity as core committee member even before becoming president. Definitely, I would have been in a better position to implement my concepts if I had more time.

A section of the party leaders perceive you as a protégée of national general secretary Ananth Kumar and feel that your appointment may affect the political balance in the party.

I have good relationship with everybody. My conduct as State president has proved that I am for maintaining neutrality in the party and also that the party’s interest is my paramount interest.

Are you really calling shots in the party as there is a feeling that you are only being used by a few leaders to implement their agenda?

We do not have a system of allowing individuals to call shots. Whatever decisions we have made, are collective decisions. Barring a period when the party went through crisis earlier due to individual differences, we have gone only by collective decisions.

You came to power in 2008 with the help of a sympathy wave under B.S. Yeddyurappa’s leadership and Reddy brothers’ support. Now both of them are not with you. What will be its impact on your poll prospects?

I want to make it clear that the wave in 2008 was in favour of the BJP and not in favour of any individual like Yeddyurappa, as ultimately the power had not been transferred to the BJP then. Similarly, the Reddy brothers’ political influence has been very limited. We are confident that our development works will help us to overcome both the above factors. We are confident of getting simple majority.

What is your main poll agenda?

Development works implemented by us and failure of the UPA government. In the absence of any major issue, development is going to be the only issue on which the ensuing elections will be fought. In fact we definitely score 75 to 80 marks on a scale of 100 for development works.

In addition to this, the large scale disappointment in the Congress over distribution of tickets in several constituencies will also help us during the polls.

Will you forge an alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) to form the government if there is a hung Assembly?

Such a situation will not arise as we are confident of coming to power on our own.

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