BENGALURU: “All is well,” says Siddaramaiah tugging at his scarf with a flourish, exuding confidence, about the JD(S) and Congress alliance. That he has to harp on the wellness of Karnataka’s ruling coalition just weeks before the first round of polling on April 18, spoke volumes.
“Haven’t we completed ten months in government?” he asks of the media group, called for a special interaction at Bangalore Press Club, on Monday. The former Chief Minister, however, did not shy away from admitting ‘minor’ nagging issues at the district levels, only to quickly add that those were being “weeded out”.
Brushing away the prevailing doubts, Siddaramaiah adds, “it’s been proved beyond all reasonable doubts that JD(S) and Congress transferred their votes together and registered big wins in the bypolls. Yes, there are a few differences but they will be solved gradually. Votes will get transferred to each other.” While the ground reality may defy his statements, the coordination committee chief, pushed the idea of a successful joint campaign with confidence.
Leaders and workers of the JD(S) are yet to begin a campaign for Congress candidates in 21 seats and leaders of the Congress are yet to actively seek votes for JD(S)’ candidates in seven other seats but Siddaramaiah claimed that all was well between the partners. Seniors from JD(S) like G T Devegowda and Sa Ra Mahesh have refused to campaign for the Congress in Mysuru citing rebellion in neighbouring Mandya district.
In Raichur, JD(S) leader Rangappa Naik has threatened to contest as an independent miffed over his party conceding the seat to Congress. Incumbent Congress MP Muddahanumegowda, who also skipped the joint rally on Sunday, has refused to campaign for JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda who is contesting from Tumkur.Despite the glaring differences and apparent disinterest to coordinate from district leaders, Siddaramaiah says that all is well.
Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi won’t return to power, Siddaramaiah said that the BJP was refusing to speak on issues that actually matter. “They had swept Gujarat in 2014 but can they do that now? It is impossible for Modi to come back to power. They refuse to address real issues of farmers, poor, women, Dalit welfare, development and unemployment but use Pulwama to gain votes. They speak of Ram Mandir but people are tired of it,” Siddaramaiah said. He said that if the BJP was opposed to Congress’ NYAY scheme, it was opposed to the good of people.
Countering speculations over Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from a second seat — Wayanad in Kerala - Siddaramaiah recalled that Modi had contested from two seats in 2014 as well. “Rahul Gandhi is not scared of Smriti Irani. In fact, he will win with a big margin. When Modi contested two seats, nobody called it the downfall of the BJP,” he said.The former Chief Minister said the joint campaign of both parties for all 28 candidates will begin as early as Tuesday.