Leaders and cadres of all parties are canvassing in the scorching sun in Chikkaballapura constituency, which comprises Gauribidanur, Bagepalli, Yelahanka (Bangalore Urban), Hosakote (Bangalore Rural), Devanahalli, Doddaballpura and Nelamangala Vidhanasabha constituencies.
BNB, known for his no-nonsense candour, has vowed to defeat both his opponents; incumbent MP Veerappa Moily and migrant H. D. Kuamaraswamy. The 72 year old BJP leader got candid during his interview to Oneindia. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Oneindia: You are contesting parliamentary elections for the first time. Both your key opponents have been MPs before. Is lack of experience affecting you?
BNB: Certainly not! I don't find any difference. All elections are the same. People will elect me if they have confidence in me.
Oneindia: Do you believe that you enjoy the confidence of voters more than your opponents?
BNB: The election will decide that. I was born and brought up in this constituency. I have represented Hoskote, which comes under the Chikkaballapura MP constituency, several times before. The people here are aware of the developmental works carried out by me in Hoskote as its legislative representative and in Bangalore Rural as its in-charge minister. I am confident that people have more faith in me than in my opponents.
Oneindia: Chikkaballapura has always been a stronghold of Congress. In addition, Congress is in power in the state. What are the advantages for BJP?
BNB: The situation has changed a lot now. The whole country is being swept by the BJP and Modi wave. The people of this constituency have been disappointed with the performance of the incumbent MP. Besides, Congress has delivered a lackluster performance at the centre. People are fed up with the corruption and scandals of the UPA government. The MP of this constituency has not delivered on his promises.
I believe that the developmental work I carried out earlier will sail me through.
Oneindia: Has the possibility of your victory affected with the entry of H D Kumaraswamy?
BNB: Any politician can fool people once. You cannot fool people all the time. The people of Chikkaballapura know how the people of Ramanagar were left in the lurch by Kumaraswamy. I hope that the people of this constituency will not repeat the mistake committed by Ramanagara people.
Oneindia: Veerappa Moily had been a Chief Minister once. He is also a central minister. Do you fancy your chances against him?
BNB: You should ask the people of this constituency what Moily has done for them. He tried to hoodwink the people by enacting the Ettina Hole inauguration drama just before the announcement of the election. But the people didn't get fooled. They exposed him by protesting with black flags at the time of inauguration. This election will decide who is big and who is small.
Oneindia: Has the contest here become a contest between Veerappa Moily v/s Kumara Swamy?
BNB: Definitely not! It is all the creation of the media. The competition is only between Congress and BJP. Media may be projecting that the fight for Chikkaballapura is between Kumaraswamy and Moily, since both are former chief ministers. But in reality, BJP and I have enormous support this time in Chikkaballapura.
Oneindia: There is a criticism that although you had been a district in-charge minister for Bangalore Rural, your contribution was limited to Hoskote?
BNB: I have brought Rs. 3,000 crore for the development of Bangalore Rural in areas like drinking water, health, education, infrastructure development etc. Bangalore Rural was grown into a progressive constituency under my leadership.
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My contribution is not just limited to Hoskote and Bangalore Rural. The people of the state know the contribution made by me as Minister for Labour and Sericulture during the BJP government and as Minister for Animal Husbandry, Transport and Urban Development during the 1990s. As Minister of Labour I have done more work than any of my predecessors.
Oneindia: You had been an MLA and a State Minister. Why should the people send you to Parliament instead of a seasoned national politician like Moily?
BNB: There is no meaning in this comparison. Only experience is not enough. I have only this appeal to the people. I am someone who has walked the talk in the past. I don't know how to lie and shed tears. I have my own roadmap for the development of this constituency and will do my best to implement it. I will not leave this constituency and go somewhere else. I am not a person who will not look back at my constituency once elected to the parliament. People know this. I will work for the welfare of the constituency.
Oneindia: What is your roadmap for the development of your constituency?
BNB: The people of this constituency need water. The problem is serious. A permanent solution for water scarcity is the need of the hour. Moily has inaugurated the Ettinahole Project as an election stunt. You need to put in efforts and have the political will to implement it. I will strive for the scientific implementation of this project.
Cauvery water is being supplied to the Bangalore City. I will bring pressure on the state government to formulate a plan for extending drinking water supply from Cauvery River to Yalahanka and surrounding regions. Likewise, I will bring pressure on the central government to release more money for undertaking drinking water projects under JNNURM in Nelamangala, Doddaballapura, Chikkaballapura, Gauribidanur, Gudibande, Bagepalli, Devanahalli, Vijayapura and Hoskote towns.
I think, the existing Karnataka Urban Water Board should be divided and South East Karnataka Water Board should be formed in order to prioritize and address the drinking water problem in Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapura and Kolar districts.
There is an acute scarcity of drinking water in these three districts. I will discuss this with experts and bring pressure on the state government to implement this.
Barrages will be built across Pennar River , which originates in the hilly areas of Chikkaballapur and runs northward through Gauribidanur Taluk, with a view to supply drinking water to surrounding areas and facilitating recharge of ground water.
I will strive for the implementation of the Circular Rail project which connects Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumkur and Ramnagar districts. I will also work for establishing still better connectivity between Chikkaballapur and Bangalore. This is important for creating more employment opportunities for the constituency people.
Construction of new highways and making improvements to existing highways, establishing a Dry Port near Doddaballapur and Devanahalli taluks, and close to the international airport with a view to improve the economic condition of people here and integrated development of all 9 towns are some of my dreams.
Oneindia: Chikkaballapur is the place, which gave birth to Bharat Ratna Sir M. Vishveshwaraya. What are your plans for the development of education sector here?
BNB: This is a good question. In fact, I wanted to talk about this. I have plans to work for the establishment of four universities in Chikkaballapur. Among theses, one of the universities to be established in Chikkaballapur, will be named as Sir M. Vishveshwaraya University. More facility will be provided to improve the health the poor by establishing a government medical college. Since, this constituency has more number of people employed in central government departments, I will strive for establishing 6-8 Kendriya Vidyalayas.
Oneindia: Narendra Modi has promised 24x7 electricity to all places across the country. Will you work for giving 24x7 power to the people here?
BNB: Undoubtedly! I will make honest efforts to give continuous 3-phase electricity to the farmers of this region. In this light, the central grid will be further strengthened. My dream is to put a full stop to the problem of scarcity of electricity by establishing a Central Solar Energy Park either in Gauribidanur or Bagepalli.
Since Chikkaballapur is a constituency adjoining Bangalore, there is immense scope for the development of industries here. What is your roadmap for the development of industries?
Industries are not coming up in this region as expected because of water paucity. Water will be provided to the industries through the effective and speedy implementation of permanent water projects already planned.
I will work for the establishment of a textile park in Chikkaballapur and big industries in Gauribidanur and Bagepalli, the most backward taluks of this constituency. I hope that this will create employment opportunities in this region. I will establish a residential school for the children of construction workers in the constituency.
I will try to emulate the growth of IT in Bangalore South region, by working for the establishment of software parks in Yalahanka and around Devanahalli with the assistance of central funds. I believe once this is done, in addition to employment creation, investment will happen in areas of housing, construction, transport, tourism etc. and business will increase in the whole of Chikkaballapura Lokasabha constituency