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Modi magic will work wonders: Bandaru

Modi magic will work wonders: Bandaru
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Interview of the Week BJP president Rajnath Singh recently appointed Bandaru Dattatreya as party vice-president. After A Rama Rao, who was Jan...

Interview of the Week BJP president Rajnath Singh recently appointed Bandaru Dattatreya as party vice-president. After A Rama Rao, who was Jan Sangh president, followed by Bangaru Lakshman and M Venkaiah Naidu, who went on to become BJP presidents, Bandaru Dattatreya is among the few Telugus to rise to a high position in the BJP. Appointed BJP in-charge of Kerala, Bandaru Dattatreya is all set to visit Kerala soon, pay primary attention to Andhra Pradesh and also work in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with a plan to ensure that the southern states contribute to increasing NDA seats tally in parliament. Bandaru Dattatreya sees Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Trump Card. "People see a new hope in Modi. Irrespective of political and ideological affiliations, people in general, and youth in particular, see Modi as one, who can deliver corruption-free governance, create education and employment avenues, bring about economic transformation and prove to be a tough administrator, as he has already done it by personal example in Gujarat. Modi inspires confidence, given his record in Gujarat. You cannot imagine how Modi magic will work wonders," Bandaru Dattatrya, in an exclusive interview to The Hans India, told Venkat Parsa.
How do you feel on being appointed as BJP vice-president?
It is a great honour for me and I thanked all the senior party leaders for reposing such great trust in me. I shall strive to do the best of my ability to live up to the confidence they have reposed in me. Already I have met top party leaders. These included BJP president Rajnath Singh, BJP parliamentary party chairman L K Advani, leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi and BJP general secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal. During discussions with the senior leaders, I impressed upon them the need for the party to pay special focus on Andhra Pradesh in particular and southern states in general, where there is tremendous potential for the party to expand and gain in popularity. My job is to prepare the ground for the BJP in the southern states.
What will be your special focus area?
I have been made BJP vice-president in-charge of Kerala. So I have to work in Kerala. Primarily, I shall have to devote more time and energy in my home state of Andhra Pradesh, where my target is to secure seats tally in double-digits in the Lok Sabha elections, as the party has enormous political potential. Besides I want to work even in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. My real goal is to ensure that the southern states contribute to increasing NDA seats tally in parliament. A great responsibility has been entrusted to me. I have to work hard with all the strength and energy at my command, to deliver results.
Do you intend to rope in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi?
Let me tell you, Narendra Modi will be visiting Hyderabad in the second week of July. Later, he will pay separate visits each to the Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions. According to a survey, Modi enjoys tremendous popularity. Even in North Coastal Andhra, where the BJP does not enjoy great popularity, people have signalled that they would vote for Modi. People see a new hope in Modi. Irrespective of political and ideological affiliations, people in general, and youth in particular, see Modi as one, who can deliver corruption-free governance, create education and employment avenues, bring about economic transformation and prove to be a tough administrator, as he has already done it by personal example in Gujarat. Modi inspires confidence, given his record in Gujarat. You cannot imagine how Modi magic will work wonders.
How do you rate your party's poll prospects in Kerala?
In Kerala, the RSS has created a strong base. The BJP has also an organisational structure. Now, the party has to be converted into a mass organisation. We need to attract new sections of the society, like the youth. For this, I am sure again the image of Modi will be an asset to the BJP. My own personal estimate is that Modi factor can help swing 8-10 per cent additional vote in favour of the BJP, which will be a huge swing in any election.
Your party has lost Karnataka. It has no base in other southern states. How do you propose to strengthen the party in the south?
Besides Modi factor, the BJP is banking on positive vote for the party. The BJP plank of good governance and probity in public life will attract vote of the youth and middle-class, constituting over 65 per cent of the electorate, as these sections are fed up of the scams of the Congress-led UPA Government. There is sharp polarisation between the rival poles in the Indian polity � the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA and when one side loses, the other side gains. There is no scope for Third Front now. There are two reasons for it. One, the Left, which is the core of the Third Front, has weakened. Two, either of the two national parties need to support the Third Front for it to come to power. It never came to power on its own. As such, when the UPA has lost ground, it is the NDA that stands to gain.
How do you rate the party poll prospects in your own home state of Andhra Pradesh?
The Congress has lost credibility on two counts. One is its failure to deliver on its promise to create Telangana. Second, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has failed to achieve political management. He is unable to inspire confidence in his team and lead them as a cohesive unit. He feels he is the boss. In politics, a leader must consider himself as a servant of the people. It is only then that he can unite everyone and provide meaningful leadership. Two state ministers have resigned under public pressure. What about the remaining three tainted ministers? The Congress has lost ethical and moral fibre. Besides, the state is reeling under an unprecedented power crisis. Nearly 3.65 lakh small units have shut down, as a result. What is worse, the state has levied an additional burden on the common man to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore in the form of new power tariff. In 2009, the Congress won 33 Lok Sabha seats. In 2014, I do not think the Congress can win more than three seats. The TRS and YSRCP have ceded political space. Natural beneficiary of all these developments is the BJP. We have decided to go it alone and contest all the 42 parliament seats and 294 Assembly seats on our own.
In 1998, you promised 'One Vote, Two States' but failed to deliver on Telangana. How can the people trust the BJP this time round?
Only a national political party can deliver on Telangana, as a Bill has to be introduced and passed in parliament. No regional party can do it. There are only two national parties. The Congress has not only failed, but even betrayed the people of Telangana and has lost its credibility. The only alternative is the BJP. This is understood by the people of Telangana. Nagam Janardhan Reddy's decision to join the BJP speaks of the new trend in the people, who perceive the BJP as the only party that can deliver on Telangana. I am sure more such leaders will join the BJP. In 1998, the BJP brought it on the state political agenda, but it was not NDA agenda. In 2006, Telangana has been brought on the national agenda of the BJP and subsequently on the NDA agenda. This time round, we are all committed to delivering on Telangana.
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