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`Government is misusing powers'

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MAKING A POINT: Siddaramaiah, former Deputy Chief Minister, and D.K. Shivakumar, former Minister, in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan
MAKING A POINT: Siddaramaiah, former Deputy Chief Minister, and D.K. Shivakumar, former Minister, in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Special Correspondent

Siddaramaiah fears polling may not be free and fair

BANGALORE: The coalition Government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy is misusing administrative machinery in the run-up to the byelection to the Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency, former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress candidate Siddaramaiah said here on Wednesday. He feared that the byelection to be held on December 4, "may not be free and fair".

Mr. Siddaramaiah said he would not consider the byelection as a referendum on the Janata Dal (S)-BJP Government. He, however, said that Mr. Kumarawamy should resign on "moral grounds" if the Janata Dal (S) candidate lost the election. The Chief Minister had announced that the Government would fall if the party candidate Shivabasappa lost the election.

Addressing presspersons, Mr. Siddaramaiah said Mr. Kumaraswamy had announced that he would stay in Mysore, which gave room to doubts about the election being free and fair. Drilling of borewells and disbursement of loans to the poor by the Government were clear indications of violation of the code of conduct, he alleged.

The Chief Minister had been making many promises in violation of the code of conduct. Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged that the Janata Dal (S) was trying to create tension in the constituency by removing flags, buntings and posters put up by the Congress. The Election Commission was urged to depute observers for preventing misuse of administrative machinery in the byelection, he said.

During the campaign, the party would highlight issues such as corruption, communal clashes, and "anti-people" policies pursued by the Government during the last nine months. The secular principles of the Janata Dal (S) would be exposed, he said.

He criticised Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa's "misleading" remarks on the Udupi Ashta Math row. He threatened to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission against the BJP leader for "vitiating" the poll campaign by raising "provocative" issues.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the BJP leader was trying to pit the Brahmin community against him by issuing "false" statements on the Kanaka Gopura row. Mr. Siddaramaiah clarified that he had only opposed the destruction of Kanaka Gopura in Udupi and never meant any offence to the seer of Pejawar Math.

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