Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has ruled out any change of leadership in the state government after the elections.
At an interactive programme organised by the Press Club of Bangalore and Bangalore Reporters’ Guild, he said the party has an edge over its rivals in 22 of the 28 constituencies. However, the outcome will not have any impact on the chief minister’s post as Congress has been elected for five years.
Siddaramaiah said Congress has not launched ‘Operation Hastha’ to woo candidates or leaders from other parties. The Janata Dal (Secular) candidate in Belgaum retired from the fray on his own to support the Congress. Another JD(S) candidate Shivanand Naik withdrew his nomination from Uttara Kannada saying he lacks the confidence to take on former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and his sons. “We are not responsible for these.”
The chief minister said Narendra Modi not mentioning his wife’s name and Mandya candidate Ramya not mentioning her father’s name in their affidavits are personal matters and should not become poll issues.
“I am not interested in raking up personal issues during campaigning. But, my question is why did Modi conceal his marriage all these years? This proves that BJP and RSS leaders are experts in turning lies to truths.’’
‘No Modi Wave’
Siddaramaiah also dismissed the supposed ‘ Modi wave’ in the state. He claimed that senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has already admitted that there is a pro-BJP wave, not a Modi wave here.
BJP leaders, who had claimed that the party was “cleansed” with the exit of B Sriramulu and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, have welcomed the duo back, he said. “Will the return of these tainted leaders help BJP?”
The CM also dismissed Gujarat’s development as ‘bogus’. According to a recent report, Maharashtra tops the country in attracting investments, followed by Karnataka. Gujarat is in the third place. “ But Gujarat is number one in school dropouts and infant mortality and malnourishment,” he said.
He admitted that veteran Congress leader Jaffer Sharief was “unhappy” over being denied a ticket to contest from Bangalore Central. But he will support us nonetheless, he said.
On Deve Gowda’s statement that he will not step into Mysore if the JD(S) candidate loses the elections, Siddaramaiah, once Gowda’s blue-eyed boy, said such statements should not be taken seriously as he (Gowda) is known for them.
Mining to Resume
Siddaramaiah said mining would resume after the polls, but the state government will not tolerate illegal mining. Based on the Lokayukta report, the government will take action against those involved in illegal mining.
Siddaramaiah also held the police responsible for the incident in which a rowdy got into the vehicle of Home Minister K J George and Information Minister R Roshan Baig while campaigning for Bangalore Central candidate Rizwan Arshad recently.