‘Can Rahul Gandhi Help Congress Win Polls?’ BJP’s Three-Time Winner from Bengaluru Central Says '400 Paar' Target Possible With PM Modi

1 month ago
Bengaluru Central candidate PC Mohan on the campaign trail. (News18)

Bengaluru Central candidate PC Mohan on the campaign trail. (News18)

PC Mohan expressed confidence that his voting percentage would increase in the 2024 polls as he hailed the prime minister’s contributions to the IT City

Karnataka’s ‘Mini India’, the Bengaluru Central constituency, is often considered a melting pot. The seat, which houses the world’s top IT companies as well as slum areas, has voters that speak different languages and follow different religions. It has popular shopping centres, education hubs, the famous Cubbon Park and the Chinnaswamy stadium for cricket lovers.

Traditionally a BJP bastion, the seat has been won thrice by OBC candidate PC Mohan since 2009.

The seat came into existence after delimitation in 2008 when it was carved out of Bengaluru South and Bengaluru North. The constituency has a significant minority electorate. It is home to around 5.5 lakh Tamils, 4.5 lakh Muslims, and approximately 2 lakh Christians. There are also a significant number of Marwaris and Gujaratis in the constituency.

For the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls, BJP has retained Mohan by giving him a ticket for the fourth time, while Congress has fielded the lone Muslim candidate from the party — Mansoor Ali Khan.

In an exclusive interview with News18, Mohan shared his thoughts on what he believes are factors that will ensure his victory for the fourth time as well as his plans for an IT corridor.

Edited Excerpts:

If the demography of Bengaluru Central constituency is interesting because of voters from different religions and languages, it is also challenging for the candidates. How are you winning the trust of voters?

The real reason is personal connection with voters. I have been in politics for 25 years. For 10 years, I was MLA from Chickpete constituency and served as MP for 15 years. I am a leader who is accessible to people at all times. You will see me in all programmes. My traditional method of reaching out to voters is about building bonds. I visit parks early morning to know voters’ wants and then start a door-to-door campaign to keep ties personal.

In your first two terms (2009 and 2014), you stressed more on corruption by the UPA government. In 2019, you spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development works. What is your 2024 Lok Sabha agenda?

This time, I am talking about the contribution of PM Modi to Bengaluru city. The Modi-led Union government had allocated Rs 1.3 lakh crore for Bengaluru’s comprehensive development. It was a 40-year-old dream of Bangaloreons to have suburban trains. Last year, the prime minister laid the foundation for the same and granted Rs 18,600 crore for the project. I fought for this project inside and outside Lok Sabha. This project will be finished in five years and benefit 10 lakh people. A sum of Rs 26,000 crore was allotted for Bengaluru Metro and Rs 1,000 crore as part of Smart Cities. Public transportation usage is important for traffic regulation, which is why the Metro was extended. All BJP MPs met the urban minister for clearance. We also got about 600 electric buses.

Is BJP banking on PM Modi for votes? That is what Congress is accusing the party of.

Congress doesn’t have a leader like we have. Narendra Modi is a global leader, and he has been accepted by the people. With Modi, we can win 400 seats. But with Rahul Gandhi, can Congress win an election?

At present, of the eight assembly seats in Bengaluru Central constituency, five have Congress MLAs and just three have BJP MLAs. Will the Congress dominance in the assembly seats pose a challenge to your victory?

I won the last three terms despite Congress dominance. The voting is different for assembly election and Lok Sabha polls. My voting percentage will go up this time.

As an MP, you represent the majority of the IT corridor that witnessed vandalism over Kannada signboards. It also tarnished the image of IT City. What are you assuring voters in the IT corridor this time?

It is the Congress that gave licence to unruly elements because of which the IT corridor witnessed vandalism. It is the job of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to ensure the implementation of 60-40 Kannada signboard rule. This is a cosmopolitan city. I can see the efforts that people are putting to learn Kannada and I encourage them to learn the language as it will help them.

The Congress has fielded the lone Muslim candidate Mansoor Ali Khan. How do you see the battle?

Khan may have worked on ground for the party in elections in different states, but he is new to election politics. Does he know Bengaluru properly? By the time he understands Bengaluru, elections will be over. Also, Congress party had no choice so they gave him the ticket.

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