Senior Janata Dal (Secular) MLC and former minister Basavaraj Horatti does not spare his party or the coalition government when it comes to the development of north Karnataka. He recently advised Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to dissolve the State Assembly and go for fresh polls in the wake of frequent conflicts between the coalition partners, Congress and JD(S). He spoke to Deccan Chronicle on the longevity of the incumbent government and other political issues. Here are excerpts
How many days will the coalition government last?
According to me, this government will be safe and stable as long as both coalition partners are ready to work in tandem. The pace of functioning seems to have picked up after one year of exchanging barbs. Even the Chief Minister and other cabinet colleagues are in action now. The phase of uncertainity seems to have disappeared. One of the main reasons for this 'stability' is that no MLA is ready to face another election within a gap of one year. Be it legislators of the Congress, JD(S) or BJP, none of them want to go for fresh polls. If the situation makes mid-term polls inevitable, there are chances of some legislators crossing the fence to join another party to save themselves from the election.
Are the Congress and JD(S) worried over Operation Kamala of the BJP to pull down the government?
The Bharatiya Janata Party is actively wooing legislators of ruling parties. As of today, the BJP has 105 members and the Congress-JD(S) combine has 119 members in the Assembly. The saffron party has to poach on at least a dozen MLAs to make the incumbent government lose its majority. Another solace for the coalition government is the support of two independent legislators who have joined the Council of Ministers. The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is waiting for the Karnataka government to lose its majority so that President's rule can be imposed in the state. Even Gokak Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi has become silent and has stopped talking of bringing ruling party MLAs into the BJP fold. Going for another election within one year is not easy as it involves crores of rupees. The BJP leaders may claim they will get over 140 seats in the event of mid-term polls on the basis of the Lok Sabha results but the voting pattern varies in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
You say the government is safe but Congress leaders are issuing contradictory statements. Your view?
I can tell you that Congress legislators and leaders enjoy absolute freedom with no threat from their state leaders or the party high command. They do not listen even to former CM and CLP leader Siddaramaiah. The MLAs think they are more powerful than their leaders and are unquestionable. The definition of politics has changed in the state and every MLA wants to become minister. Hitherto, lawmakers used to be afraid of their party high command and leaders. Now it is vice-versa as leaders are afraid of their party legislators as they enjoy the freedom to join the party of their choice. This degeneration began during the tenure of the BJP government and is continuing till date. Good people cannot think of contesting any election due to money and muscle power. In these circumstances, how can we expect good and honest people to enter politics?
The government has completed one year. How do you rate the performance of ministers?
I am sorry to say that a majority of them have become ‘constituency ministers’ with no commitment. Despite not doing anything, they are saved by their godfathers. The high command is also not in a position to question them. The less said, the better on the working of our ministers.
The allegation is that the Chief Minister is conducting Grama Vastavya (village stay) only in constituencies which the JD(S) won in the last Assembly polls? Is it true?
Not at all. One of the constituencies where the second round of Grama Vastavya was held was won by the Congress Party. I feel Mr Kumaraswamy must embark on his village stay programme in constituencies won by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress party. It is a really good initiative and helps fix responsibility on the deputy commissioners who have to provide solutions to petitions received during Janata Darshan. Officials too have become lazy and they are not bothered even if they are placed under suspension. In 1982, a government employee committed suicide unable to bear the insult of suspension. Now, suspension is like a paid holiday for the babus and even elected representatives cannot control them. Every legislator must do Grama Vastavya in his constituency at least once in a month to understand problems. It is heartening to note that Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwar is following in the Chief Minister’s steps. But there is lot of difference between the Grama Vastavya held by the Chief Minister 12 years ago and the current one.