BENGALURU: Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Monday acknowledged that corruption was rampant in the state administration and if he tried to cleanse the system at once, he won’t be allowed to be in power. “The rot in the system is so deep that I shudder at the thought of a clean-up and don’t know where to begin,” he said addressing a gathering of Gandhians, which included 100-year-old freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, at Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru.
Kumaraswamy said middlemen walked the corridors of Vidhana Soudha and that corruption ruled all three floors of the state secretariat.
Incidentally, his speech on fighting corruption was directed at officials, not the political class. “I will tell officials that there has been enough loot so far. I won’t ask them about how much has been swindled till date but from now on, they should realise the problems that the state and its people are facing,” Kumaraswamy said.
The Chief Minister’s statement on corruption comes days after he remained non-committal on disbanding the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the agency set up by the previous government and blamed for weakening of the Lokayukta, citing compulsions of a coalition arrangement government and the need for discussion with “other members”.
Kumaraswamy said he confided in his father, former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, his fear of running the government. The 58-year-old said he was scared that he would earn a bad name by running a government that is steeped in corruption.
“If I try to uproot it immediately, I won’t be allowed to remain in power even for 2 minutes,” Kumaraswamy said, alleging that transfer of officials is where corruption begins. Throughout his speech, Kumaraswamy spoke about the need to curb corruption and imbibe Gandhian values in governance but spoke nothing of corruption charges against the political class.
Kumaraswamy claimed that land acquisition had been completed in all 30 districts to construct Gandhi Bhavans to promote Gandhian values, a project undertaken by the Siddaramaiah government.
Congress forced CM post on me, says HDK
Calling himself a “Chief Minister of circumstances”, Kumaraswamy said he never wanted the post but was forced by the Congress to lead the coalition. “I did not want to become Chief Minister. My father also told the Congress, including its central leadership, that I have undergone two heart surgeries. He suggested that someone from their party should be made the CM but the Congress was insistent and forced me to become the Chief Minister,” he said.
Flaying the media for speculating on the stability of the coalition government, Kumaraswamy asked it not to “make up stories”. “There is neither instability nor has governance come to a standstill. As the Chief Minister of the coalition government, I have the capacity to take all MLAs of the Congress into confidence,” he said.
The statement comes in the wake of his meeting with M B Patil, one of the senior Congress leaders miffed over not being accommodated in the cabinet.