Union Minister and BJP leader D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who is resisting the combined efforts of the ruling coalition of JD(S) and Congress to to wrest the Bengaluru North Lok Sabha seat, has hit out at his opponents for questioning his performance as MP.
In an interview with The Hindu , he said he was more confident of winning the seat this time around than the last. Excerpts:
You are contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Bengaluru North for the second time. How different are these polls from previous ones?
These elections are completely different from 2014 when Narendra Modi was only projected as prime ministerial candidate, and hence the BJP’s main agenda was poll assurances. Now what matters is our actual performance. We have been getting positive feedback and I am more confident this time of winning.
The ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition has fielded a common candidate — Minister Krishna Byre Gowda — against you and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda himself is campaigning for him. How do you rate your chances in such a scenario?
If Deve Gowda himself was contesting against me, it would have been different, given his stature as a former Prime Minister. But with Krishna Byre Gowda being my opponent, I am quite confident of victory, considering my achievements and Mr. Modi’s image.
There is an allegation that you were hardly seen in the constituency after the previous victory. Your thoughts?
I am always available to people though they may not see that. But what I want to tell them is that I am not an MLA or a corporator. My responsibilities are different and bigger since I am a Union Minister.
Apart from the works taken up in the constituency, I have given double funds to the State as Railway Minister when compared with Mallikarjun Kharge, and introduced 21 trains. As Law Minister, I have removed 1,154 obsolete laws... What is important is standing up for the State’s interests and not boasting about minor works.
Your political opponent has said that there is unrest among Central PSU employees, who form a sizeable chunk in the constituency, against the policies of the NDA.
This is completely false as I have been getting good reception from Central PSU staff. In fact, the late Union Minister Ananth Kumar and I played a crucial role in getting the Centre to infuse a lot of funds to turn around the ITI, which was on the brink of being declared sick in 2014. Today, the Central PSU, which is a lifeline for 4,400 families, has got projects to the tune of ₹22,000 crore.