Union minister Pralhad Joshi, representing Karnataka’s Dharwad Lok Sabha district, is running for a fifth term. The minister is confident that the BJP will bag 370 seats, with the people’s mandate being with the party and believes there is no anti-incumbency. Joshi on his campaign trail in the constituency spoke to businessline about electoral bonds, accusations of being a majoritarian government, and its chances in Karnataka after losing in Assembly polls.


There are apprehensions over BJPs ability to get 400 seats, how confident is the party? Will alliances play a bigger role? 

The people will decide. The decision will not be taken on what Congress is saying about our ability. It is the people’s mandate and people are with Narendra Modi and BJP. The support from people is stronger than last time (2019). BJP on its own will have 370 seats but we take our alliance partners together. I have faith that there is no anti-incumbency against Modi. 


BJP has been accused of being a majoritarian government, and of serving only the capitalist class, how do you respond? 

There is no meaning to all the things that Rahul Gandhi is saying. The capitalists he is talking about, are they born today, have Adani, Ambani and Tata started their businesses after we took over? We believe in ‘sabka saath sabka vikas,’ since we are not doing any appeasement politics, minority citizens are not able to understand BJPs policies are right for them, and in days to come we will convince them. Minority support for BJP is slowly increasing, it is not a one-day process, but it will happen. Everybody should have equal opportunity and there should not be appeasement as our policy but the Congress party misrepresents our thought process. 


BJP has received major criticism in the electoral bonds case, how do you respond? 

Have Congress, TMC and DMK not received funds? If other parties get it it is ok, but if BJP gets it, it is a bribe, how can you say that? BJP is the largest party and people might have donated to them according to their presence and strength people have given donations. At least, the money which was raised through bonds was white. Congress party, all the sixty years they did not spend for the election, where did they bring money from, at least it was one step ahead. We could have further improved it but we have no other way because we have to honour the Supreme Court judgment. 


Do you think the recent friction between BJP and Congress for the drought relief fund will affect the vote bank in Ktka? 

Whatever the Congress party in Karnataka is saying is bogus. In the 10 years of the UPA(United Progressive Alliance) government, what were the natural calamities, whether drought or flood funds, what was the ratio of sought and given has to be seen. The UPA government had issued only 13 per cent of what was sought, while the BJP has given 51 per cent of what was sought, we can show the numbers for this. 


Congress’ promise of five guarantees has solidified the chances of winning for them in Karnataka, do you see that denting BJPs chances here? 

Look at the price hikes Congress has made because of the guarantees, bond paper which was ₹10 is now ₹100, electric transformer charge has been increased from ₹10,000 to ₹2,00,000, milk subsidy has been stopped and price has been hiked, sprinkler pipe subsidy has been reduced, price of wine and beer has increased. All of these moves are burning the hands of the citizens.


 How confident are you of your chances, given that a section of the Lingayat community is unhappy, and locals feel you are inaccessible? 

People are with me, they have been electing me for the last four years and I am confident that people will elect me again. Whoever gets important ministry in the centre, has to both, serve the nation and manage the constitution. I don’t think people are complaining, I am in touch with the constituency day-to-day, wherever I may be in the world.