Mangaluru: Exclusive interview - Congress picks young Praveen Peter for MLC polls

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SB)

Mangaluru, Jan 11: The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee has announced Praveen Peter as its candidate for the biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council.

Praveen will contest from Bengaluru Central Teachers’ constituency which covers all 28 constituencies of Bengaluru and is spread across Bengaluru Central, Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagara.

Praveen was a former banker and an active youth leader of Christian community. He hails from Rajajinagar in Bengaluru. He became Congress member in 2010 and currently is working as spokesperson of youth Congress.

In an exclusive interview with Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld TV 24x7 channel's 'Public Challenge' programme, Praveen Peter speaks about his political journey and upon being selected as an MLC candidate.


Q: Congratulations. At the age of 38, you have been give the ticket to contest an election. At what age did you enter politics and from which party?

A: In the current period, we can see a lot of changes happening in the Indian political system. More youth are entering politics and they get suitable positions. In the tenure of Rahul Gandhi as a president of Congress Party, majority of the youth leaders become presidents of Pradesh Congress Committees. As Congress encourages youth, I was awarded a ticket to contest in election for Legislative Assembly as a representative of teachers and graduates. In Karnataka, Dinesh Gundu Rao and other senior leaders always back youth for leadership. They find the quality of leadership in members, especially youth and students.

The church attack incident in 2009, forced me to enter politics. I decided to give justice to my community by involving in politics. Constitution gives us the right to practice our religion and faith. Same time, it upholds communal harmony of our nation. This attracted me and I thought of entering politics as I can practice what our Constitution says.

Basically, I was a bank manager. I worked for HDFC and UK based Barclays Bank. But to fight against social injustice, I left my job and entered into politics. At that time, two new political parties were formed. One is BS Yediyurappa’s KJP and another was Sriramulu's BSR Congress. Both parties had secular agendas. With blessings of Archbishop of Bengaluru, I joined BSR Congress and I got membership in the party’s core committee. In this way, I started my political journey. I had worked with Sriramulu and this got me close to political giants.

After few months, BSR Congress merged with another political party. But I decided to follow secular values and fight against social injustice. So I decided to continue with Sriramulu’s new party.

Q: As per Constitution all parties are secular. Then why the Christian or minority communities support Congress? Should Christians and minorities only support Congress?

A: The term secular is not limited to any community or religion. It’s applicable to entire society. Secular thoughts on poverty, social injustice and people’s basic needs, always come under this constitutional secularism. As a politician, to become a voice of voiceless is the pure secularism. There is no space for religion and community. But BJP always works with RSS thoughts. Their thoughts and teachings divide the society. The words used by their leaders and the acts of their members prove how much the BJP party hates secularism.

Q: You have secured MLC ticket from Congress party for Bengaluru South Teachers’ Constituency. Even though you are a junior, how did you manage to get the ticket?

A: The dedication and commitment you put in yield results. The people who are ready to sacrifice their time and energy get success. Since last ten months, I and my fellow party workers are working for my victory. We already met more than 15,000 teachers and have listened to their grievances. Today, teachers and graduates face many problems and issues. We have to find a solution. Definitely this is a challenging work.

Q: You are going to face a strong contestant against you. As a fresher, how do you plan to campaign against him?

A: The current MLC is facing anti- incumbency by the voters of constituency. The strict and compulsory transfer is the main issue troubling teachers of Bengaluru South constituency and for past many years, they are openly opposing it. There are several confusions in the term 'compulsory transfer'. I already met minister Suresh Kumar and requested to give clarity on this compulsory transfer. The current MLC has not shown any interest in addressing this burning issue. Secondly, he is expelled from his party JD(S) for cross voting in legislative assembly. He betrayed his party workers and teachers of Bengaluru central teacher’s constituency. Voters know this very well and they are waiting to send him home.

Q: Comparing to other parties, it is difficult to get a ticket without a godfather and strong political background. Did you face any opposition in your party at the time of ticket allocation?

A: Seeing my dedication towards the party, commitment towards society and discipline in personal life, the party recognized me. Secondly, party always backs the youth and their candidature. With my candidature, party wants to give a message to party and society that youth are always encouraged in politics.

Q: In our talk, you repeatedly mentioned Rahul Gandhi's name. But today he does not have any position in party or politics except being an MP. What is his political future?

A: Every political leader has some limitations. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has limitations. But when a leader overcomes his limitations, he will become a mass leader. Rahul Gandhi showed it and he proved he is a mass leader. BJP insulted Rahul Gandhi and chanted slogans ‘Congress Mukth Bharath.’ But the recent state elections show how people are interested to make ‘BJP Mukth Bharath’. The love towards humanity makes a person a great leader. History shows starting from Hitler till Narendra Modi, when you are going in an autocratic way, it is the beginning of their downfall. But Rahul Gandhi never wants to become autocratic. He mingles with everyone. He strongly believes in our Constitution.

Q: But when Rahul Gandhi resigned his post as National President, Congress started winning in the assemblies and got good results in elections. Somewhere do you feel without Rahul Gandhi Congress will do better?

A: No. We cannot say like that. The election results of state and centre are different. State election results always depend on issues of states. The recent election which was won by Congress shows how the state leadership worked with unity and actively. Rahul Gandhi campaigned in all these states where Congress won. Rahul Gandhi has a great capacity and he is doing this job very well. He is our leader and always we will be with him.

Q: Day by day Siddaramaiah seems to be becoming weak in Karnataka. What is the situation of Congress in Karnataka?

A: Siddaramaiah is a strong leader and he is still leading us. He has lot of experience in politics and administration. No one can challenge him easily or go against him and he is a source of strength. He is role model for entire political fraternity. More than politics, the state needs him.

As an opposition, Congress is doing very well and raises voice on behalf of the people of Karnataka. Victory and defeat are the part of life. This time, people decided to give us role of opposition. Next time they will elect us to rule them.

Q: Today entire political system is polarized. Religion, money and muscle power is ruling politics. Finally being a youth leader what is your message to our youth?

A: We have to believe in our Constitution and work as per its norms. We need dedication and commitment towards the society. Politics is like sea. We need some unique qualities to shine in this. Apart from this need, hard work and concern towards society helps. It helps in policy making. If a youth obtains these qualities, he or she will automatically achieve success.


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