Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Monday declared he would remain in Congress as long as he was in politics. If he decides to quit the party, then he would retire from politics completely.
Initiating the debate on a motion to thank Governor H.R. Bhardwaj for his address to the members of both the Houses, he clarified that he did not desert the Janata Dal (Secular). When he was expelled from the JD(S) for promoting the AHINDA movement, he had had no option but to join the Congress, which had concern for social justice, secular values and democratic principles.
“Had Mr. Deve Gowda not expelled me from the party, I would have stayed back,” he clarified. He also admitted that his opposition to Congress was issue-based during his tenure in the JD(S).
When Bharatiya Janata Party members asked whether he would be the next Chief Minister, if the Congress won the Assembly polls, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he was not a hypocrite and that he nursed an ambition to head the Congress government in the State. He would be the Chief Minister when the Congress high command blesses him with the opportunity, he said.
He, however, added; “I don’t want to become the Chief Minister through dubious means. The 2018 polls will be my last election and I will retire after that.”
When Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa alleged that Congress leader C.M. Ibrahim approached the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) president B.S. Yeddyurappa on behalf of Mr. Siddaramaiah, he said: “I have not given power of attorney to Mr. Ibrahim. Siddaramaiah is not Mr. Ibrahim.”