In an interview with Rajashekara S, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa explains that he had not expected
Shettar and Sadananda Gowda to change so soon and the high command culture is against the state’s interest
If the government falls, won’t the Lingayats hold you responsible for unseating a CM from the same community?
I never believed that I was a Veerashaiva CM. I have been backed by all sections. How could the BJP secure 110 seats unless it had the support of various communities? This is a conspiracy against me by the BJP leaders. The poll results will show who stands where.
Will your flock stay with you if you topple the government? Four ministers perceived to be close to you have delayed their resignations.
They will come with me. Some of them have their own compulsions and will take time to join my party.
The prime motive behind you joining a regional party and making efforts to revive it appears to be aimed at you returning to power. There seems to be no principle or agenda for the KJP.
I never attached much importance to the position or chair. If that was the case, I could have continued as the CM by compromising with the JD(S). I resigned when a majority of BJP MLAs were supporting me. I could have become the CM instead of Shettar. It is not even two months since I took over the KJP but there is tremendous response. Political parties are targeting me as they think that KJP may mar their prospects. The people are my masters. I have seen the CM’s post, why should I aspire again. The party’s ideology is based on the principles of Gandhi, Ambedkar and Jaiprakash Narain of equal opportunity, equitable growth and self-reliant villages to prevent migration to urban areas.
Will anyone believe that you will do all this when you couldn’t do it while in power? What is the guarantee that you won’t repeat mistakes like giving prominence to the Reddy brothers.
Because of my good works, people are still attracted to my rallies and party programmes. Legislators come to me even after stepping down as CM. People trust me because I deliver what I promise. The Reddy brothers were necessary when we went to the polls after leaving Kumaraswamy to form a government on our own.
The BJP appears to have countered you by projecting Shettar as its CM candidate. Will that affect you, considering that Shettar has a cleaner image?
It was Yeddyurappa who made Shettar the CM. I should have become the CM but I gave him the seat. Shettar’s experiment is over. Give me an instance of a single action that he has undertaken in the last six months. People have seen his administration which has completely collapsed and Vidhana Soudha is deserted.
Why are you so upset with Shettar?
I went against senior BJP leader BB Shivappa and made Shettar the Opposition leader, Speaker and now CM. Despite all this, Shettar said that Yeddyurappa couldn’t tolerate his growth. He continued what Sadananda Gowda did, keeping away my supporters and trying to lure them. I made him the CM despite strong resistance within the party. I didn’t expect Shettar and Sadananda Gowda to change so soon. I have learnt a lesson.
Earlier, you had said that there is no scope for any regional party in the state. Why this sudden change in perception?
This is the right time for a regional party. The high command culture is against the state’s interest. Why are Tamil Nadu and Andhra getting justice in the Cauvery and Krishna disputes?
Was there not a high command in the BJP in the last few decades?
The BJP high command thought that my decency and good nature were my weaknesses. This hurt me the most. I was a disciplined solider of the Sangh Pariwar but the behaviour of Nitin Gadkari and state leaders forced me to change my mind.
How do you see the poll verdict?
My only request to the people is to vote for one party. If not the KJP, any party of their choice instead of another fractured verdict. Giving power to one party will take the state forward or at least ensure political stability.