If Assembly elections are held today, Congress won't cross 50-seat mark, says K'taka LOP R. Ashoka

Bengaluru, May 4 (IANS) Amid the heightened political activities in Karnataka ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, in which the 14 remaining Parliamentary seats in the state will go to the polls on May 7, senior BJP leader R. Ashoka claimed that the BJP is set for a big win in the southern state.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, Ashoka, the leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, lashed out at the Congress, saying that it will neither perform well in Karnataka, nor will it come to power at the Centre.

“If the Assembly elections are held today, Congress will not even cross the 50-seat mark,” he said.

Excerpts from the interview:

IANS: As a senior politician, how do you read the minds of the voters ahead of the final phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state?

R. Ashoka: The voters in Karnataka have made up their minds to elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a third term. I have been travelling across the state for the past two months, and the Modi wave is more intense than what we saw in 2014 and 2019.

IANS: Will the sex video scandal involving JD-S leader Prajwal Revanna damage the party's prospects in the Lok Sabha polls?

R. Ashoka: Law and order is a state subject. It is the duty of the Congress government to ensure justice for the victims. This case has nothing to do with the BJP. JD-S is our alliance partner and we have given three seats to them as part of the seat-sharing formula. We didn't have any say as to who the JD-S fields in these seats. In fact, it is the Congress which is playing politics in this issue.

IANS: What's your take on Congress' claim that it will win 20 seats in Karnataka this time?

R. Ashoka: First of all, the Congress didn't have any candidates to contest the Lok Sabha elections. Initially, when the Congress high command wanted its ministers to contest the polls, nobody came forward. So they gave tickets to the kin of ministers and MLAs.

In about 18 out of the 28 seats in the state, the Congress has given tickets to those who are either children or family members of the sitting ministers. Why did the ministers not contest the elections themselves if they were confident of victory? The Congress knows that it will neither perform well in Karnataka, nor will it come to power at the Centre. Forget 20 seats, if Assembly elections are held today, Congress will not even cross the 50-seat mark.

IANS: The BJP is targeting Congress for its 'appeasement politics'. How serious is the issue according to you?

R. Ashoka: It is already affecting the state. The fundamentalist groups have been emboldened in the state due to the appeasement politics of the Congress government. There is no fear of law among the anti-social and anti-national elements.

The bomb blast at the Bengaluru cafe, the raising of pro-Pakistan slogans in the Vidhana Soudha, the attack on people for playing Hanuman Chalisa, the daylight murder of a Hindu girl in Hubballi -- all these incidents are not mere coincidence. These are direct fallout and consequences of appeasement politics.

IANS: Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar is claiming that the move of the BJP to give tickets to 15 new faces shows fear of defeat, Your take....

R. Ashoka: For the first time in the history of India, a government is going to the elections with a pro-incumbency wave even after 10 years in office. PM Modi's popularity and approval ratings continue to remain high. So where is the question of fear of defeat? Our PM candidate is Narendra Modi.

IANS: Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are raking up the issue of Prajwal Revanna,,,Your reactions?

R. Ashoka: The Congress is simply trying to drag PM Modi and HM Amit Shah in this case and politicise the whole issue. Law and order is a state subject. Why did they allow the accused to fly out the country? Why did they delay the investigation?



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