BJP and PM Modi consciously masking future of Bengaluru to woo investments to cities in Gujarat and UP: D.K. Suresh

The incumbent MP and Lok Sabha contestant from Bengaluru Rural questions why the Centre did not resolve drinking water crisis in Bengaluru by clearing Mekedatu project

Updated - April 18, 2024 06:13 pm IST

Published - April 18, 2024 03:50 pm IST - BENGALURU

Show of strength: D.K. Suresh of the Congress, who filed his nomination papers for the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency in Ramanagara, participated in a campaign along with KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar and others.

Show of strength: D.K. Suresh of the Congress, who filed his nomination papers for the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency in Ramanagara, participated in a campaign along with KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar and others. | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bengaluru, Congress MP D. K. Suresh has fired a fresh salvo at the BJP central leadership by accusing it of casting a shadow on the future of Bengaluru and Karnataka by “consciously” hindering their development to help woo investments to cities in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. 

Mr. Suresh, the brother of Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, and seeking re-election for the fourth consecutive time from Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency, alleged that the brand value of Bengaluru has been diminishing in the last 10 years of BJP rule at the Centre. 

In an interview with The Hindu, Mr. Suresh, who had earlier remarked that there will be no other choice left but to ask for a separate south Indian country if the Centre continues to ignore this region in terms of devolution of central funds, questioned the contribution of the BJP government at the Centre, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the development of Bengaluru. 

Excerpts from the interview: 

You have represented Bengaluru Rural three consecutive times. What according to you are your major achievements?

I have completely and effectively used the MPLAD funds. I have given priority to the rural irrigation projects and lake filling works. To increase groundwater table in this parched area, more than 3,000 check dams have been built under MNREGA scheme. The region did not have Navodaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya, though it was represented by two former Chief Ministers H.D. Deve Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy. I have brought these institutes to the constituency.  When Mr. Shivakumar was energy minister, 35 power stations were built here besides providing high voltage distribution system to 1.20 lakh persons under which two farmers will share a transformer so that they get quality power for their IP sets. 

What are the main issues this election? 

I am seeking votes on the basis of my performance and five guarantee schemes of our government. I have committed myself to completing the ongoing and planned irrigation and multi-village drinking water works to provide piped water supply to all. I have also assured people of 25 to 30 villages around Bengaluru of ensuring regular Cauvery water supply by this year end. 

Bengaluru city areas like Rajarajeshwarinagar, too, are suffering from depletion of groundwater level as the local authorities have closed down portions of various tanks in the garb of development. Hence, we want to take up a project to inter-link and also fill up 185 tanks in Bengaluru on the lines of tank-filling initiatives in rural areas. The tanks are being identified and DPR is being prepared. 

You were the one who started “My Tax–My Right” campaign of the Congress government in Karnataka. You are using this issue in your poll campaign too. Can you tell more about this? 

When I referred to it, I was only trying to draw the attention to injustice done to Karnataka and other South Indian states. But the BJP projected it like I was seeking division of the country. We have given the Centre nearly ₹24 lakh crore tax in the last 10 years, but received only ₹2.92 lakh crore for development in return. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only shown lip sympathy towards the development of Karnataka in the last 10 years. For example, the Kalasa-Banduri Nala drinking water project has not gone forward despite Supreme Court’s clearance while Upper Bhadra Project has not progressed. The Centre has not volunteered to support Yettinahole drinking water project though Bengaluru city may get two to three tmc ft of water from it. 

The PM and people of the entire country know that Bengaluru city, which has provided employment to people from all over the country, is facing water shortage. But they are yet to clear Mekedatu balancing reservoir project which would help tackle Bengaluru’s drinking water problem. Bengaluru has got a raw deal though we are the second highest tax payers in the country. 

What is the contribution of the PM for development of Bengaluru? Though they say they have given sub-urban railway, there is no mention about funding from their side. They do not have much contribution even towards Bengaluru Metro as nearly 90% of cost has to be borne by the State. 

The BJP central leadership and the Prime Minister are indirectly masking the future of Bengaluru and Karnataka. The city’s brand value has been diminishing every year in the last 10 years of BJP rule at the Centre. They want the cities in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh to develop at the cost of Bengaluru by obstructing its development so that they can woo investments from here. Already, they are forcing companies in Bengaluru to set up units in Gujarat also. 

He refers to even small things with concern in his Man ki Baat. But Bengaluru’s water and garbage problems have not attracted his attention. Why should the PM not call a meeting of officers concerned and constitute a high-powered committee along with funding to tackle the city’s garbage problem? 

All the IT & BT industries and industrialists have been complaining about Bengaluru city’s traffic woes. But the Centre has done nothing to resolve traffic problem in core areas. While Karnataka got approval for only 1,600 km of national highway in the last 10 years, Maharashtra and UP got approvals for 12,000 km and 4,500 km during the same period. 

Congress candidate for Bengaluru Rural D.K. Suresh with his brother D.K. Shivakumar, Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president, at a rally in Ramanagara.

Congress candidate for Bengaluru Rural D.K. Suresh with his brother D.K. Shivakumar, Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president, at a rally in Ramanagara. | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

BJP says it is banking on the Modi wave to win the polls in Karnataka...

There is no Modi wave in the State. Such a thing has been artificially created as a marketing strategy. Karnataka’s development happened even before the emergence of Mr. Modi on the political scene due to its hardworking and well-educated people as well as great universities and educational institutions. 

BJP is also hoping that Ram Temple issue will benefit in this seat, which is home to the famous Ramadevara Betta...

They are creating a situation wherein they will make you believe that you are not a Hindu if you are not worshipping Rama. Some worship Rama, some worship Shiva, some others worship Anjaneya or Chamundi. There is no dearth of temples in our State as every village has four to five temples unlike North India that has a fewer temples.

Ram Mandir is a symbol. Rama’s temples, hills and religious identifies are there everywhere in the district. If the BJP was so serious, why did it not build a Ram temple in Ramanagara when it was in power? Though they have announced it in their budget, is it possible to get forest clearance to build a temple in a place that houses a vulture sanctuary? 

How will the BJP-JD(S) alliance impact you as the partners say there is complete synergy between them at all levels?

These two have come together for selfish reasons of safeguarding their own families. People are closely observing them. On the part of the BJP, it could also be an attempt to crush the existence of a regional party.

What is your take on noted cardiologist Dr. C.N. Manjunath, who is taking you on in his debut election?

I don’t want to say much about him as it is the people who have to give their opinion. But I just want to say that he got everything because of his political background though he claims that he does not indulge in politics.  

BJP-JD(S) alliance feels that any upset in the results for you here will impact the political future of your brother D.K. Shivakumar and trigger a political tussle in the government... 

I am 100% confident of my victory this time. Since day one, the BJP-JD(S) leaders have been saying that the Congress government will collapse to safeguard their own parties and prevent their leaders as well as workers from deserting them. Such statements are far from truth. Our chief minister is focusing on development of the State. After three years, the GDP of Karnataka will get a boost in rural areas. 

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