New Delhi: Asserting that Karnataka is the BJP’s gateway to south India, state Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said the saffron party has made an impact in all southern states except Kerala where it needs to work “differently”.
The party has high hopes in Telangana, while in other states it has made an impact irrespective of election outcome, he said at the Times Now Summit.
Asked about BJP’s prospects in South India, Bommai said, “South is hope for BJP…Karnataka is a gateway. Hopes are much more in Telangana. In Tamil Nadu, we have made an impact even though we have lost (elections).
“Kerala is one state where there is political lag and where we have worked hard. We have been working hard, but we have to work differently,” he said.
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Noting that many BJP leaders have worked very hard for the last 30 years to spread the saffron colour in South, Bommai said the government in Karnataka has not come by chance. It has come by hard work for so many years on different fronts.
Several leaders like B S Yediyurappa and Anant Kumar have worked hard in Karnataka. Similarly, BJP leaders have been working hard in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, irrespective of election results, he said.
“I am sure when the time comes for change, the choice will be for BJP,” Bommai asserted.
Asked if reservation in private jobs for locals is a way forward or a short term political appeasement, he said economics and social conditioning go together.
“There has been a lot of talk about this. But what I feel is that in a democratic set up, if the major population is not taken along then the democracy will not work for a long time. Therefore opportunity has to be created to the classes which have been deprived of. In that aspect, reservation is one big tool to see that opportunities are created,” he said.
Bommai further said a good economist or a good administrator has to ride two horses — one of efficiency and the other equity — in the same direction and same speed.
“So, we have to balance — equity and efficiency,” he said, adding that movers and shakers of the economy are people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Bommai answered in the affirmative when asked if the legacy of his father and former chief minister S R Bommai and predecessor Yediyurappa was weighing heavily on him.
“… Because people start comparing immediately as they don’t even give time. The very first day, they want me to behave like my father and BSY,” he said, adding that there is “pressure” to perform better.
Bommai, however, said he converts this pressure into an opportunity to get the best out of himself and then from his people with the experience he has gained working under five chief ministers.
Asked how he was managing the reins of Karnataka government in the middle of the term, Bommai said all major policies and programmes envisaged during BSY time are continuing.
“I took over during the period when COVID-19 was on the way out. I had to prepare the state to take off its economic activity without wasting much time and instill confidence in people to be part of the economic activity. That challenge was new to me. I concentrated on that and we are doing well on that,” he said.
Bommai also said he wants to leave his legacy as “a common man chief minister by the people and for the people” who has uplifted the life of last person in Karnataka.