‘Instead, he should be given the power to act independently’

H.D. Deve Gowda, Janata Dal (Secular) supremo, and A. Krishnappa, State president of the party, seem to differ on a couple of issues. They were addressing a joint press conference here on Friday.

One such issue was whether politicians should have a retirement age or not.

Mr. Krishnappa insisted that there should be an age limit for politicians, while Mr. Gowda did not agree.

Initially, Mr. Gowda tried to evade the question. However, when he was hard pressed, a visibly upset Mr. Gowda shot back asking “What is the age of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh now?”

He said any debate on the issue was irrelevant and unnecessary. The choice was left to voters, he said.

“Let voters give their verdict by electing or rejecting Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The 2014 poll results can be an indicator to whether this country needs a young or elderly politicians,” he said. \What prompted the presspersons to raise the issue was Mr. Krishnappa’s opposition to the rising of retirement age for Central employees to 62 years.

“As the number of youths in the age group of 20 to 30 years is increasing rapidly and creation of jobs not being commensurate with the population growth, the Centre should refrain from rising the retirement age,” Mr. Krishnappa said. Mr. Gowda expressed a similar view.

Another issue related to the recent of decision of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) to appoint a coordination committee to monitor the functioning of the State government.

Mr. Krishnappa appeared to favour the decision of the AICC in this regard, when he said that the decision would put an end to what he described as unilateral and whimsical functioning of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

However, Mr. Gowda clearly opposed the AICC’s decision. “The AICC should not try to curtail the freedom of the Chief Minister. Instead, he should be given the power to act independently and focus on development,” Mr. Gowda said.

Mr. Gowda, who had earlier batted for the formation of third front for providing an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party to the people, said that the issue of emergence of a third front would be clear only after the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Gowda said that there was no need to oppose the proposed talks between India and Pakistan. Such attempts should be continued in the larger interests of two neighbouring countries, he said.