BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday praised his deputy DK Shivakumar for his organisation skills as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president and even termed the latter as a better organiser than him.
Speaking at the Press Club of Bengaluru annual award ceremony here, the CM said, “I may be senior to DK Shivakumar in politics, but he is an astute organiser and way ahead of me in it. I, too, was JDS president in the past... but JDS did not come to power.” On the occasion, Shivakumar was conferred the ‘Person of the Year’ award.
Earlier, when Shivakumar was hesitant to speak, Siddaramaiah convinced him to address the gathering.
Recalling the events that led to him becoming the KPCC chief, Shivakumar said, “Sonia Gandhiji came to Tihar jail and told me to handle the responsibility of KPCC. Siddaramaiah and I built the party together and brought it back to power even as a few predicted a fractured mandate.” Calling media trials a threat to democracy, Shivakumar said, “There is no need to be afraid when one hasn’t committed any mistake. Criticise us when we make mistakes. I believe who criticise me rather than those who shower praises on me. I have full faith in the judiciary... it will provide me justice,” Shivakumar, who has been facing a CBI probe in a Disproportionate Asset case, said.
He suggested that Press Club of Bengaluru organise a workshop for 300 new generation journalists to provide them with an exposure on how politicians get moulded. “Myself or Siddaramaiah have not emerged as leaders overnight, but have put in a lot of effort. But the media can spoil our repute all of a sudden by discounting our efforts we put in to become leaders,” he said.
“When ED started its probe, many advised me to obtain anticipatory bail... but I refused. Where was the need for an anticipatory bail when I haven’t made any mistake? I worked for my party. When I was in jail, I only thought of what my kids would think... but I never lost my self-confidence. I had the belief that I would achieve something in Karnataka. I had that faith then, now and I will have the same in the future too,” the DyCM said.
Former minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Labour Minister Santosh Lad and CM’s Political Secretary K Govindaraju were honoured with the special awards. As many as 29 senior journalists were conferred with the annual awards. Conferring the awards, former Supreme Court Judge Justice Shivaraj Patil said that for judges and elected representatives taking oath itself is a religion. “ For judges their path is religion and conscience is their watchman”, he remarked. The media should also have a conscience and focus on social issues, including child marriages and child labour, to be deserved as the fourth estate.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah had advice for the journalists present. “I did not quit JDS but was expelled. Then I joined Congress and became a two-time CM with the blessings of the people. Therefore, it is not right to write that I quit JDS,” he said.