Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde's name elicits the highest cheers from crowds at rallies for Karnataka Assembly Election 2018. His brand of Hindutva politics, unabashed views on minorities, style of attacks on opposition have managed to sway young supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Union minister for skill development and Entrepreneurship, who is leading the Janasuraksha yatra's Coastal belt leg, has been hacking at the Siddaramaiah government at all his rallies and each time to a thunderous cheer. Mostly in the news for his controversial statements- the latest one on changing the Constitution- Anantkumar Hegde, in an interview, opened up about why he hopes for Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 to be the most polarised. Here is why Hegde thinks polarisation is democracy as well as politics.
Is Hindu versus Minority becoming the narrative in coastal Karnataka?
No, it is the Congress versus the BJP. By Congress, I don't mean the party and cadre but its culture. The BJP's culture is on one side and on the other is Congress' culture. The war between Congress and BJP cultures has started.
What is the purpose of Janasuraksha yatra that you have been leading?
23 of our karyakartas have been killed by this Congress government. They were brutally murdered and people, particularly in the coastal Karnataka region are angry. There have been more than 7,700 murders under this government. People of Karnataka are fed up and feel insecure. We have taken this initiative to seek safety.The yatra will conclude on March 6, but the movement will continue. We have never seen this type of criminal attitude in previous governments.
Is the BJP protecting only the interests of Hindus?
Yes, of course, it is our duty. It is evident that Congress is ignoring our (Hindus) interests.
Will Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 be the most polarised elections so far?
Definitely, I hope for that. It will be
Why do you hope for a polarised election?
Because our Hindu masses are fed up with this appeasement policy. For example, a few days ago they (Congress) withdrew cases against Muslims deeming them innocents but at the same time, thousands of Hindu karyakartas were arrested. Our Chief Minister never uttered a word on them (Hindus) being innocent. If only Muslims are innocent, what are Hindus?
Don't you think polarisation defeats democracy?
It (polarisation) is the real democracy. Polarising people for the right cause is democracy. That is politics.
How do you justify retaliatory attacks on members of minority community?
It is a state-sponsored terrorism and not from innocent minority people. The state has sponsored PFI and various organisations and criminals who they are from these organisations are coming into Karnataka from Kerala to intentionally kill our people.
Why does the BJP only talk about Hindutva and not development in coastal Karnataka?
Development is a general task. The Janasuraksha yatra is particularly meant to highlight murders in the last 4 or 5 years but apart from this many developmental issues like corruption, development is there. We are highlighting the murderous politics of Karnataka government.
Is this strategy the way forward for the BJP?
We are not advocating divide and rule policy. We do not differentiate between minority or majority but the Congress is demarcating the society which is hurting the people of Karnataka.
Are you in line to be the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate for Karnataka post elections in case of a victory?
This is false and simply someone's imagination. Our high command has declared B S Yeddyurappa's name as CM candidate. He is the real mass leader and he will become chief minister and the BJP will come to power definitely.
But B S Yeddyurappa has been critical of your approach.
His criticisms are most welcome. Elders always criticize positively.
Do you still stand by your Constitution remark?
I respect my Constitution and I always respect Baba Saheb Ambedkar. I always respect my culture, tradition. I have not said anything against that but the media and the Congress artificially framed some charges against me. I am being framed as anti-Dalit, anti-constitutional, anti-Baba Saheb and this is totally false. From the word go, I have always been respecting the constitution, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and harmony between various communities.