NEW DELHI: Clarifying his remarks that he was at the "mercy" of the Congress and not the people, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Monday said he did not mean to show disrespect to the people but stress the fact that his continuance in the post depended on the coalition partner.
Kumaraswamy, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top Congress leaders in the national capital, said he was committed to waive farm loans or else he would retire from politics.
He urged the people not to fall prey to "BJP's conspiracy".
The JD(S) leader, who was sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister last week after the Congress extended support to his party, said he was ready with the guidelines on farm loan waiver, details of which would be disclosed on Wednesday.
"I am the chief minister who has the responsibility to six-and-half crore people of the state. My remark that I am at the mercy of the Congress party meant that I am Chief Minister as long as their support is with me, and to run any programmes I will need their support is what I said," he said, while seeking to clarify his remarks which evoked sharp criticism from the BJP.
"In a coalition government, I never said it won't be possible to waive farm loan. What I had said was that in a coalition government, whatever decisions have to be taken would be in consultation and with permission from coalition partner Congress."
"Why are you (media) spreading that Kumaraswamy took a U-turn or right turn, I don't understand. Don't twist my statements and confuse people," he said on the BJP's criticism.
Slamming his opponents for giving a twist to his remarks, Kumaraswamy said that in the run-up to the assembly polls, he had asked the people to give him a clear mandate so that he could work independently under the obligation of people.
"My appeal was rejected by the people of the state," he told reporters here.
Karnataka BJP leaders flayed Kumaraswamy's remark, saying he was "deriding his own people" and doubted his credentials to serve them.
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda took to Twitter asking Kumaraswamy if he would compromise the interests of Kannadigas just to retain power.
The BJP in Karnataka tweeted, "One can only imagine the kind of loot he will preside to impress his Congress bosses."
BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya termed the chief minster's remarks as "the most brazen admission ever" and expressed apprehensions that Karnataka "will bleed" under the present state government "while JDS-Congress fill up their coffers".
Assuring people on the issue of farm loan waiver, he said, "I have clearly said that I will waive farm loan. I had promised during election that I would do it within 24 hours (of assuming office). That is true. At least you should give time to breathe. Today, I have limitations."
"If I don't do it, (I) have clearly said that I will retire from politics and I will resign as chief minister. Why cannot you wait for some time?" Kumaraswamy told reporters after meeting the prime minister.
He said he heard statements by BJP leaders including B S Yeddyurappa on the issue of farm loan waiver and was not like the BJP leader who is sitting quiet.
"The guidelines to waive farm loans have been kept ready. It will be made public on Wednesday in Bengaluru," he told reporters.
The Karnataka Chief Minister accused the BJP of conspiring and urged people not to fall prey to it.
He said his government was for the people and he would serve the people till the time he was the chief minister.
"Don't panic and get confused (by BJP statements). Not only on farm loan issue, I will work on other matters related to people. There will be a difference when I work as CM," he claimed.
Before his meeting with the prime minister, Kumaraswamy also met top Congress leaders in the national capital to work out power-sharing arrangement with the Congress.
"BJP is trying to convince people that we are not going to waive farm loan. Four farmers have committed suicide. Who will take responsibility of their family? Will Yeddyurappa take the responsibility?" he asked.
On the ongoing discussions with Congress leaders over portfolio allocation in Delhi, he said, "Without having any confusion, we are taking care that nothing hampers the stability of this government. On the issue of cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation, we are taking everyone into confidence."
To a query on who would get the finance portfolio, the Chief Minister said, "We have had discussions on that as well."
He said "Their party national president (Rahul Gandhi) is not in town, we have decided to take final decision after bringing to his notice about the discussions that have taken place today."
Asked if the cabinet expansion would be delayed, he said even when there is a single party government, there would be several issues regarding cabinet expansion and portfolios.
"This is a coalition government, in such a government at the initial stage itself we will have to show generosity to give and take. Discussions have taken place in this regard, there is no confusion, and everything will be fine."
"Both sides have to show generosity," he said in response to a question, while adding that there are no issues and government would function smoothly for the next five years.
"We are working towards creating a platform of mutual trust for the smooth functioning of this government that includes coordination committee and common minimum programme," he said.