BJP is a self-governing set up and all have the right to contest polls: Shobha Karandlaje
She considers she has done what an MP needs to do and that is to be the voice of her citizens where it matters.
Shobha Karandlaje, who is the BJP state general secretary and MP from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, is contesting for a second term. Although the critics in her party and a segment of netizens feel she has not done justice to her constituency, which is spread across the coast and the Malnad region, she considers she has done what an MP needs to do and that is to be the voice of her citizens where it matters, in Parliament. Excerpts:
There were murmurs regarding your candidature and also a campaign against you…
The campaign was by netizens who are unfavorable to BJP and not by our workers. It is they who started the campaign. I, as an MP, have commenced the growth and expansion that a constituency requires, including getting a Passport Seva Kendra, Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery to Udupi, upgradation of state highways to national highways, doubling of railway tracks electrification and a host of other projects. I have done a lot of work, but I did not publicise it.
How did these murmurs originate?
There were many contenders for the party ticket and at one time, I had specified that I would not fight these Lok Sabha polls. But when the party demanded that I contest, I acknowledged. This could have generated displeasure in between other candidates. The BJP is a self-governing set up and all have the right to aspire to contest polls. But it also the party culture that once it picks a candidate, all set aside their disappointment and differences and work in a united way for the candidate.
Your opponents describe you as an absentee MP and say that you are an outsider…
This is not true. I have a house in Adi Udupi. Besides, I was tasked with administrative responsibilities and was required to travel across the state in this capacity, being the general secretary of the state unit of the BJP. I could not limit myself only to the constituency. This has been used by my opponents to target me.
What is your assessment of Pramod Madhwaraj as your primary opponent?
For BJP, any political opponent in an election is an opponent, regardless of the party that he or she is from. Madhwaraj contesting as a coalition candidate will not matter much. It was just 10 months ago that the electorate in Udupi pronounced judgement on Madhwaraj and the electoral atmosphere has not changed drastically in this period.
What is your opinion on Tejaswini Ananth Kumar not getting the party ticket?
I am bound by it as it is a decision taken by the party high command.