Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said the return of B.S. Yeddyurappa and B. Sriramulu to the Bharatiya Janata Party would not help the party regain its lost ground given its “tarnished” image. The Congress would continue to do well similar to its performance in the Legislative Assembly elections.
He was responding to a question during an interaction with presspersons at a ‘Meet-the-Press’ organised by Bangalore Reporters’ Guild and the Press Club of Bangalore here.
He said when Mr. Yeddyurappa deserted the BJP, the party claimed it had become “clean”. Similar was the reaction when Mr. Sriramulu exited the party. Their return, without the “corrupt” tag being removed, would not enhance the BJP’s image, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
Going by the Assembly election results, the Congress could win about 22 seats even as it was making sustained efforts in all the 28 constituencies, he said. Mr. Siddaramaiah said he had toured all the constituencies at least three times and was confident of the party getting a minimum of 20 seats. The BJP does not have any face of its own in the State and hence was projecting its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Otherwise, Mr. Modi would not have visited Karnataka as many times as possible, he said.
Claiming that many pro-poor programmes launched by his party had reached the targeted groups and they would help Congress in the elections, Mr. Siddaramaiah said people would not forget the “illegal and immoral” acts of the erstwhile BJP government in the State so easily.
To a question on litterateurs supporting and campaigning for the Congress, the Chief Minister said they too were citizens of this country and had the freedom of expression. As to whether or not the support was aimed at gaining government position in future, he said if they deserved, they would get positions.‘No operation’
On the Congress taking away a few Janata Dal (Secular) leaders, Mr. Siddaramaiah dismissed the idea of any “operation”. He said Belgaum JD(S) candidate Naseer Bagwan approached Congress leaders voluntarily claiming to have been sidelined in his party. On the other hand, JD(S) nominee for Uttara Kannada was supporting the BJP after withdrawing his nomination in the last moment. “Let alone people, party leaders themselves do not have any confidence on the JD(S),” he said.