‘BJP-JD(S) tie-up will benefit Congress’
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah completes 100 days in office on August 21, the day on which polling will be held for the Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituencies.
The Chief Minister has said that an event to mark the completion of 100 days — which he has promised will be a low-key affair — will be postponed to August 26 because of the elections.
In the midst of hectic campaigning for the byelections, a visibly tired but confident Mr. Siddaramaiah spoke to The Hindu and outlined his agenda, highlighting the achievements and denying any resentment within the party on the question of leadership.
He denied allegations that the Congress government was going slow on the illegal mining issue and declared that the report of the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde would be implemented.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What are the highlights of your first 100 days?
A: They are the distribution of rice to below poverty line families at Re. 1 a kg and milk to children in government schools.
What are your challenges ahead?
The major task is setting right the rot that has set in in Bangalore. Clearing the garbage and making the city liveable, making the roads motorable as well as providing quality power supply on priority. We will implement the report of the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on illegal mining. Criminal cases will be filed against those who cheated the government, however big or powerful they may be.
Can the Congress withstand the unified Opposition (Janata Dal-Secular and Bharatiya Janata Party) that has emerged for the forthcoming bypolls and do you see this continuing into 2014?
The coming together of the two Opposition parties will only benefit the Congress and help consolidate our vote base among the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities, and other backward classes. Previously, the votes of these sections were divided. The two parties used to have a tacit alliance, but this time they have an open understanding.
Their true colours have been exposed. It looks like the BJP and JD(S) tie-up will continue even for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But, the Congress will win more than 20 of the 28 seats. Their coming together will not affect us at all. The JD (S) has no moral right to have the secular nomenclature any more.
Will the results of the bypolls be a referendum on the performance of your government?
No. The two seats were held by the JD (S). But I am confident of winning both. Despite support from the BJP, it will not make much of a difference for the JD (S).
How do you differentiate your governance in the State and that of the BJP?
There was no governance during the BJP’s time. No Minister came to the Vidhana Soudha to meet people and study the files. Law and order was bad and the programmes for the SCs, STs and minorities had come to a halt.
Are you inducting the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara into the Cabinet as Deputy Chief Minister?
The Congress high command has to taken a decision on that, and no one in the party has discussed the issue with me.