Staff Reporter

The former Deputy Chief Minister takes primary membership of Congress

Siddaramaiah saysDeve Gowda is the de facto Chief MinisterThe former Prime Minister is responsible for BJP being part of the Government

Bangalore: The former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was for long a pillar of the anti-Congress political movement in the State, on Thursday formally joined the Indian National Congress by becoming a primary member and went on to contrast what he termed the "power hungry" Deve Gowda family with the Nehru-Indira Gandhi family, which, he said, stood for sacrifice, secularism and social justice.

Addressing a large gathering of party workers, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, with whom he was associated for long, was in fact the de facto Chief Minister of the State. He claimed that he was not joining the Congress with the goal of becoming Chief Minister. One of the reasons for his decision was to prevent the division of AHINDA votes those of backward classes, minorities and Dalits.

Mr. Siddaramaiah was given a rousing welcome by Congressmen led by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh, former ministers, legislators and senior office-bearers.

`No mandate'

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that while the Nehru-Indira Gandhi family ruled the country with the support of the people, Mr. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy became Prime Minister and Chief Minister respectively without popular mandate. No one had the right to question the Nehru family ruling the country, and any attempt to make a comparison between the two families would be an act of stupidity.

About his new-found admiration for Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the party sought votes in her name and came to power, but she had the humility to reject the prime ministership. But Mr. Deve Gowda, who criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party, conveniently allowed his son and the Janata Dal (Secular) to align with that party with the sole aim of making Mr. Kumaraswamy the Chief Minister. Thus, he was instrumental in bringing the BJP to power in the State, which it could never have dreamt of on its own.

Calls for CBI probe

Asked why prime land had been handed over to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project, he said a CBI inquiry would bring out the truth. But the Government was resisting it. The Supreme Court had restrained the Government from going ahead with the B.C. Patel Commission of Inquiry, which meant that now there would be no inquiry at all, he added.