Any flyover with scientific approach should be constructed and Congress is for that, says MLA Ramalinga Reddy

Congress already has two to three contenders for the Chief Minister’s post and I have no ambition of becoming the CM, he says

Updated - May 06, 2023 11:21 pm IST

Published - May 06, 2023 09:31 pm IST - Bengaluru

Ramalinga Reddy, Congress MLA from BTM Layout, Bengaluru.

Ramalinga Reddy, Congress MLA from BTM Layout, Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: File photo

Ramalinga Reddy, one of Bengaluru city’s senior Congress leaders, seven-time MLA and four-time Minister, is considered the “face of the Congress” in the city. He has served in the ministries of M. Veerappa Moily, S.M. Krishna, N. Dharam Singh and Siddaramaiah.

Mr. Reddy, in an interview to The Hindu, expressed confidence that Congress will win in Karnataka to form a government on its own.

As a senior Congress MLA from Bengaluru, what is your assessment of the performance of the party in the city this time?

We are confident that all incumbent MLAs (15) of Congress will win the election this time too. Apart from this, we can get another three to four seats in Bengaluru. Our party workers have been working hard at the grassroots level, because of which, Congress candidates will win with more margin compared to both 2013 and 2018. Bengaluru is a cosmopolitan city, and BJP’s caste, religion, politics and money will not work here. All this will help our party to win the election.

BBMP elections were not conducted, and there are no councillors. How different will this election be because of that?

Yes, this election will be different without elected councillors in the city. The BBMP should have had an elected body, but you know that the BJP was not at all ready to conduct it. However, councillors have a major role to play in Assembly elections and continue to contribute to the election work of their respective parties.

Congress manifesto has received flak for taking the flyover route again. The manifesto proposes a network of flyovers crisscrossing the city and a network of tunnel roads in the Central Business District, both projects mooted and severely opposed during Siddaramaiah’s tenure.

From the time of S.M. Krishna, our party has given various infrastructure boosts to the city. That is why the IT-BT boom is in the city today. During Siddaramaiah’s government, infrastructure projects such as the Smart City project, TenderSure, white-topping, Indira Canteens and other projects were started. Any flyover with a scientific approach should be constructed, and our party is for that. We will take expert advice before going ahead with any infrastructure projects in the city.

What do you think about Congress performance in the State?

Till last month, we were expecting to win 100 seats only in the State. But after the leadership vacuum created in the BJP — for instance, Jagadish Shettar left the party, and B.S. Yediyurappa has been sidelined — all this has led to the unhappiness of Lingayats and other communities. Besides this, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is in the most significant position in the party, but he is not a crowd-puller. All this will help Congress, and we are confident we will win this election with a majority. The Congress has many State-level leaders providing leadership to the State if elected to power.

So, does it mean Lingayat voters will come to Congress now?

Yes, we always had the support of Lingayats. Traditional Lingayat voters will shift to Congress.

Do you think Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s statement on PM Modi and the Bajrang Dal row will impact the party?

No, this will not have any impact. Bajrang Dal is not Lord Hanuman; people are not foolish to believe BJP’s communal stories.

Are you in the race to become CM of Karnataka?

Already, we have two to three contenders in the party. I have no ambition of becoming the Chief Minister.

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