Karnataka BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is no match for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that his party would come back to power with absolute majority.
The four-time Chief Minister also sought to reach out to Muslims saying the BJP government has not done ”injustice” to the minority community. He was referring to the recent decision of the state government to scrap four per cent reservation for Muslims under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and placing them under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) pool.
Yediyurappa said the Congress is ”day-dreaming” of coming to power and claimed that the M Mallikarjuna Kharge-led party would not cross the 65-70 seats mark. Elections to the 224-member Assembly would be held on May 10.
”BJP will come back to power with absolute majority under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modiji”, Yediyurappa said at a press conference at the state BJP office. ”I wish to ask Congress party leaders who their leader is,” Yediyurappa said. ”Can Rahul Gandhi be equal to Narendra Modi?” he asked.
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He further said Modi commands respect at international level and this would benefit the BJP. Yediyurappa dismissed some pre-poll surveys which predicted that Congress would wrest power from the BJP. ”I have been in politics for 50 years. I know the pulse of people very well. We have built the party from grassroots level”, he said and added that BJP’s own surveys gave his party 130 to 140 seats.
The Lingayat strongman also saw a BJP-wave in the state. He said the turnout of people during PM Modi’s engagements in Karnataka and the response during the ‘Jana Sankalpa Yatre’ give a clear indication that the party would come back to power.
Yediyurappa recalled that he had predicted before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that the party would win 25 out 28 seats in Karnataka and it had come true, and expressed confidence of a repeat of such a good electoral performance in the coming Assembly elections. ”We have not done injustice to the Muslim community. Let there be no misunderstanding. Reservation cannot be given based on religion. We have brought them under the EWS category”, he said.
Hailing Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for the government’s recent decision on various reservations, he said, “For the first time in the history of Karnataka, or probably in India, our Chief Minister has done a great work on the reservation front and provided social security,” Yediyurappa said. The former CM noted that Lingayats now have seven per cent reservation and Vokkaligas six per cent, Scheduled Castes (left) six per cent, Scheduled Castes (right) 5.5 per cent, Bhovi, Banjara other communities 4.5 per cent and other SCs one per cent. He also said that when he was the Chief Minister, he had formed Lambani Development Corporation and Thanda Development Corporation, and initiated steps to convert ‘Thandas’ into revenue villages. Apart from this, he had also allotted land to the landless Lambanis.