“If a political party at its top starts trolling, I think it’s at best deeply immature and shows that you have nothing else,” the BJP MP told TNM.

Siddaramaiahs social media push wont reap political equity Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Karnataka Elections Karnataka 2018 Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 08:40

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, a social media novice until mid-2016, has emerged as the Congress’ best answer to the BJP’s social media prowess. In the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly polls, he has not shied away from attacking even Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This, some believe, has made the BJP reactive for the first time since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, from when the saffron party has run riot in all major elections across the county barring a few exceptions.

In fact, many political analysts have opined that by taking on PM Modi himself, Siddaramaiah seems to have a vital edge in terms of perception against BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa. 

Among those who are unimpressed is three-time Rajya Sabha MP from BJP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who has been engaged in a war of words online with the Karnataka CM.

In an exclusive interview with TNM, the BJP MP said, “This won’t reap any political equity,” either for the CM, or the Congress.

“I think the reality of it is exactly the opposite, you get noticed and talked about a little bit but that is no political strategy. It's at best deeply immature and shows that you have nothing else. If a political party at its top starts trolling, I think the party has a problem,” Chandrasekhar added.

“I think somewhere in October last year, I strongly believe that the Congress began to lose the plot and thought that insulting or getting aggressive on Twitter was some “great political strategy,” Chandrasekhar told TNM, on the sidelines of the release of his party’s Bengaluru manifesto.

He elaborated, “The easiest way to clickbait your way to getting a huge follower base is to say things that are bizarre, but that does not translate automatically into political equity. At the most, it will get you some visibility.”

“People want politicians to talk about real issues and solutions to real problems,” he added.

Arguing his case, Chandrasekhar asked, “How can you (Siddaramaiah) take a Rs 67 lakh worth watch. How is a sitting CM accepting this and not getting prosecuted?”

When asked about his thoughts on the chief minister taking on the PM and asking for a debate, Chandrasekhar termed it as a “diversionary” tactic.

“There is nothing wrong with Siddaramaiah calling for a debate. But doing it in this context is to distract from an election where your performance is under scrutiny. You have four days to go for the election and this election is not about the central government. You have one year left and then you can ask all the questions,” he said.

Throughout its campaign, the ruling Congress has maintained that the social welfare schemes of the government will ensure its victory. 

Dismissing this, Chandrasekhar said, “See, every chief minister will have some achievements, when you have a budget of Rs 80,000-90,000 crore, some people will be benefited. The point is taking politics into your schemes.”

“I can assure you his entire prism of ‘development’ is a vote bank. He does not look at this as anything other than AHINDA vote bank and it’s been the case for many years. His entire development agenda is shaped by this, which I don't agree with,” the MP said.

AHINDA is the Kannada acronym for Minorities, Adivasis and Dalits— a self-admitted target group for CM Siddaramaiah. Over time, Siddaramaiah has insisted that none of the government schemes are tailored to any caste but are meant for poor persons across the caste spectrum.

Recently, CM Siddaramaiah had asked Chandrasekhar about his stance in campaigning for Lalesh Reddy. Other than being the BJP candidate for BTM Layout, Lalesh is also the nephew of the mining scam tainted Janardhana Reddy.

Speaking about him, Chandrasekhar said, “He subscribes to the BJP ideology, I support him. He's contesting from BTM where I live. There are candidates who may come that do not fit our narrative of youthful leaders. But he's an educated engineer, he is in the real estate business but has absolutely no criminal charges against him.”

When asked about BJP’s prospects in the May 12 polls, Chandrasekhar expressed confidence of the party winning more than 18 seats in Bengaluru.

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