Interview: Professor Rajeev Gowda confident of ending BJP dominance in Bangalore North Seat in 2024 Lok Sabha

In an exclusive conversation with South First, Rajeev Gowda spoke about his candidacy, vision and guarantee schemes.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 12, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedApr 12, 2024 | 2:01 PM

File photo of MV Rajeev Gowda

As the political activities gain significance in Karnataka for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, parties have intensified their campaigning. Congress’ Bangalore North nominee Professor MV Rajeev Gowda, who was a former Rajya Sabha member, is taking on incumbent Union minister Shobha Karandlaje in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

In an exclusive conversation with South First, Rajeev Gowda, who is contesting his first Lok Sabha elections, spoke about his candidacy, vision and guarantee schemes. He exuded confidence that Congress would dethrone BJP from the Bangalore North constituency.

Rajeev Gowda served as the director of the central board of the Reserve Bank of India, director of the General Insurance Corporation Limited, and chairperson for the Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru. He also taught economics and social science at leading foreign universities, especially in the US.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. In the last two decades, the people of the Bangalore North seat have favoured BJP. What made you contest this seat?

After voting for four terms for BJP, the citizens of Bangalore North have not witnessed any development works. There is very strong anti-incumbency here. The party changed the incumbent MP, who was the Union minister, and replaced him with another Union minister, who was rejected by her own constituency.

Sending non-performers to Bangalore North is a terrible move by BJP. The atmosphere is in favour of Congress to field good candidates and convince the people to vote for us. They have not got anything from the BJP. This is an opportunity to approach positively for a candidate like me.

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Q. In your very first Lok Sabha election, you are fighting incumbent Union minister Shobha Karandlaje. What issues will you highlight to breach the BJP fort?

A. I am focusing on my agenda. If you ask the people of Bangalore North, they are concerned about traffic, water, environment, and other issues. Those are the top issues on my agenda as well. I am not a person who can only list these topics. I can also work out how these issues can be addressed to enable people to improve their quality of life. We are releasing a manifesto soon for Bengaluru.

I also have a track record of doing something for the people. This might be my first Lok Sabha election, but I have been doing good work. I have got an opportunity to be responsible and accountable. This will really give me a chance to understand voters and their concerns.

Q. What’s your USP to win the hearts of the people of the Bangalore North constituency?

A. The people want a genuine, sincere, capable, committed, and secular guy. They are looking for someone who will be their representative, be amidst them, address their concerns, solve their problems, and also address state and national matters.

As a professor of public policy in Economics, I bring something to the table that is not just theoretical knowledge but practical knowledge on how to improve the quality of life, which is much required.

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Q. What is your vision for the development of the Bangalore North constituency?

A. Bangalore North is a new Bengaluru. The development needs to be much more sustainable and inclusive in that matter to enhance our prosperity as a city. The sustainable part is where we are facing problems like water issues. The thing is, we have not dealt with these subjects.

These climate actions — the move towards public transport like suburban rail and metro feeder buses — will help people. More public transport use will have various benefits, including a smaller impact on their health.

We are also focusing on unleashing cultural and sports productivity. We will also improve the quality of education and health care.

One of my primary jobs in Delhi would be to bring grants and projects under various Central government schemes and ensure that they are implemented here.

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Q. The Congress government is nearing the end of its first year at the helm in Karnataka. Has the State Institute of Transformation for Karnataka collected feedback from the beneficiaries of the five guarantees?

A. The state government is carrying out some assessment. In my case, I have spoken to people and come across moving stories. Ten years of the Modi government have caused a lot of economic stress. Price rise, unemployment, and other factors are leading to a decline in women’s labour participation. All these matters are very concerning for us.

We initiated the five guarantees in response to these problems. These guarantees are addressing the pain of the common man. People are happy with us. We have achieved in 10 months what Modi could not do in 10 years. People are going to vote for us in a big way in Karnataka.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)