Interview | Munirathna Karnataka

We have come together to work for the BJP: Munirathna

Munirathna had to win a legal battle waged by a BJP leader, challenging his 2018 election from the Congress on grounds of malpractice, before facing the people of Rajarajeshwarinagar again this time from the BJP. While others who changed loyalties and joined the BJP with him faced the bypolls 10 months ago, he had to wait longer for the legal hurdle to be cleared after he faced disqualification as MLA in July 2019.

The Hindu caught up with him on the campaign trail. Excerpts:

How do you justify your defection to BJP and this bypoll?

Congress MLAs got a raw deal from the coalition government. I was nominated as chairman for Karnataka Skill Development Corporation, but was not allowed to take charge. What upset me more was that our development works were held up. Tumakuru Road has a bottleneck at Goraguntepalya, which I sought to get fixed. I ran from pillar to post for a year between the JD(S) and the Congress leadership, but to no avail. Why should we be part of a government where even development work is put on hold? The Congress seemed neither prepared to sit in the Opposition nor was in power. So, as MLAs we had to prepare ourselves for five years of such stalemate or defect to the BJP, bring in a change of regime, which we did.

How has shifting to BJP helped development works in R.R. Nagar?

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has sanctioned grants to the tune of ₹960 crore for R.R. Nagar constituency alone. This includes several infrastructure works, but mainly the elevated corridor project that passes through the constituency. My dream is to build a Namma Metro line from Mysuru Road to Hebbal via Outer Ring Road. The Chief Minister has shown interest in the proposal.

You have had troubled relationships with most of BJP leaders, including Tulasi Muniraju Gowda and former councillors. Will this affect your prospects?

A man makes mistakes, sometimes because of wrong advice and sometimes prejudice. But we should forgive and forget. We have now all come together and are working for the BJP, not Munirathna. The BJP is a disciplined party where no man is larger than the party.

You are facing a candidate new to politics. Do you think her clean image will affect you?

I will not speak against Kusuma as she is a novice in politics and has never contested elections before. I respect her. But, I have a track record of development and work to show, which she doesn’t.

Would you demand to be made Minister, if you win this bypoll?

What I will say is not important. The CM and party high command will decide.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 2:48:02 PM |

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