AnanthKumar-Batting for Nationalism 22/04/2009 03:08:49
It would be right if we call him the “Dakshin Modi” or the Modi of the south. The General secretary of the Bharatiya Janatha Party who played a vital role in brining the party to power for the first time in South India, Shri.H.N.Ananthakumar spoke exclusively to HK amidst his tight schedule in his own Bangalore South constituency. HKs correspondent traveled a whole day with him to understand the enormous support he enjoys within the different sections of the urban population. He could be seen laughing and mingling with the corporate crowd in posh flats; at the same time playing cricket with the children in parks. Disalarmingly simple and intellectually vibrant, Shri Ananthkumar spoke out his thoughts, life and career. Below are the highlights of the interview
Q:We saw your cricketing skills just now? Looks like you are an experienced player? Did you dream of what you are now, when you were young?
A:Yes-I was a good Cricket player when I was young. I was the opening batsman and a wicket keeper at college. When I was young; I wanted to be a telephone operator. That was because my friend at that time had become a telephone operator. Later I wanted to be a Railway employee as my Father was in the railways. We were a middle class family. I came to politics by accident.
Q:How did you start your career in the BJP?
A:See, BJP gives chances to common man. My case itself is an example. As I told you before, I entered politics by accident. JP inspired me during the emergency movement. I was a PU student at Jobin's College. On Dec 8,1975 few of us students had decided to protest outside the college. Meanwhile the police and hundreds of students were watching the show. the Principal of te college asked us to disperse. That was a defining moment. We said we wont disperse and raised the slogan Bharath mata ki Jai. All of us were arrested and sent to jail. After more than a month on Sankranthi day on Jan 14 1976;we were produced in the court. I am really proud to say that Judiciary helped us and dismissed the case. The judge called our detention ridiculous and asked how can Bharath Mata ki jai and Vande Mathram be anti national?
I still remember the very next day,on Jan 15 1975;when I came back to the college, I had already become a hero. Few years later at Basaweswara chowk in Bijapur., I spoke for the first time to the public. After that I never looked back.
Q:What is new that you have to offer to Bangalore this time?
A:I have come out with a Bangalore action plan. Which will be based on our heritage and environment protection. I look forward to a clean Bangalore. BBMP doesn’t have an act, which is new and development friendly. So that will be a priority as well
Q:It seems that caste plays an important role in elections this time like never before, esp in Karnataka . Will that affect you in anyway?
A:Caste may play a role. I don’t deny that. But this is true only when the person do not know the candidate. See, my relationship with the people in Bangalore South is that of an old friend. They know all your tantrums; still that never annoy them because they are like your friend who understands you better than anyone.
Q:What do you think about your rivals at Bangalore South; esp Capt. Gopinath ?
A:See, this is a fight between the Congress and the BJP. It is a fight between, Manmohan and Advaniji at the center. The government is non-performing. The UPA has broken down into pieces. There is great amount of infighting in Karnataka .So these are factors that will help the BJP.
The present government headed by our Yedurappaji is doing a lot for the development of Karnataka in total and Bangalore in particular. There are around 1000 projects going on in Bangalore alone. You might have noticed the wider roads and the building infrastructure. Another factor is that People have great recall for the Vajpayee government and the development it has brought to Bangalore including the Bangalore International Airport.
Q:How do you see the performance of the central government under Dr. Manmonhan ?
Manmohan is a muted PM. The Remote control was with two people. On one hand when Sonia “oned” it; Prakash Karat “offed” it. So was Manmohan muted! When the government came to power; it was expected that the trio of Montek Singh-Manmohan and Chidambaram would do wonders. But no magic happened. They said they will bring 1 cr Jobs, but in actuality we lost 2 cr jobs. Atalji reigned; Manmohan ruined. I am sure there is a great anti-incumbency against the government. I once said in the Parliament to Chdambaram that "you are a Digambaram"'considering the way they have destroyed the economy.
Q:BJPs credential as a secular party is being questioned by a section of the media now in View of the Varun Gandhi incident? How do you see that?
A:BJP is a secular party and we had the best secular government in Vajpayee. To explain you with example; we don’t see poverty with regard to religion. In my constituency itself; we serve lunch at Urdu and Christian schools. We see the state of being; than of religion.
Q:How do you see the emergence of third front and do you see any more parties coming to the NDA post elections?
A:The third front has no leader and a common minimum program. Without any doubt I can tell you that NDA will come to power. Atalji had managed 23 parties and more than 320 MPS last time. So if people comes to us after polls they are welcome. You my find allies from Tamil Nadu, Andra and to an extend even Maharastra.
Q:So when you say Tamil Nadu, Andra and Maharastra are you keeping any party specifically in mind?
A:(Smiles)…..I hope I am clear enough!
Q:Today we could see an overwhelming response from the people of Bangalore. What is your winning strategy. We saw you calling hundreds of people by their name!
A:For me every vote counts. Nothing is taken to be granted from people as they know every thing. They know you if you are corrupt. I know atleast 10000 name across India. Yes, it makes a lot of difference when you call people by names. Roosevelt, the president of the US is an example .He used to call many of American citizens by names. Which made him a mass leader
Q:Do you think the BJP will emerge as the single largest party in this election?
A:In states like Gujrath,Maharastra,Orissa and MadhyaPradesh we are going to improve our position. We may retain our position in Rajastan.So totally we will definitely be the single largest party.
Q:Being a Journalist from Kerala,let me ask you about BJPs position in Kerala.Dont you think BJP need a new strategy there?
A:See,the opportunist position which the left and the Congress is taking in Kerala is destructive. It is pretty difficult for BJP to stay alone and defeat these forces. Still BJP is a very strong force in Kerala
Q:After the release of Madani;the deadly terrorsit from jail,the scope of terror has grown wider in South India.When we look at the links between the terrorists caught in Karnataka and Kerala,its quite evident!
Yes-it is.The Left and the Congress will do anything for power. They can go to any level of appesement.They have the devisive politics of appeasement. So as a member of a Nationalists force I would hope that BJP would open its account this thime in Kerala as an answer to all these anti national forces.
Q:Thank you for spending this time with us amidst your tight schedules. Best wish to you and BJP