Bengaluru: Playing to the gallery, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday said he never worked or acted against his conscience through his life.
His conscience was crystal clear and he had not done any wrong, Mr Siddaramaiah said in the Legislative Assembly on while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to governor’s address.
Though he spoke about the wrist watch controversy, he did not mention about the watch when he made this statement. Later, however, he said the watch was given by an NRI friend and it was a second-hand watch. He claimed that it was not a stolen watch.
When he concluded, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa jocularly remarked, “What will happen to the one had gave this watch? Who knows?” This telling comment of Mr Kagodu Thimmappa virtually questioned the veracity of the statement made by Mr Siddaramaiah.
Giving the watchgate a caste twist, Mr Siddaramaiah claimed that he was under attack for wearing an expensive wrist watch and on other issues only because he was from a backward class.
Giving the examples of Basaveshwara, Dr B R Ambedkar and even the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, he said those who spoke up and worked for the backward, poor and downtrodden were constantly under attack.
“I am a backward class person. I know how difficult it is for a backward class person to come to power. And I know how much one has to struggle after getting that power. This is happening to me too and I am being tarnished because of my background,” he added.
Once again emphasising that he was no atheist, Mr Siddaramaiah said he believed in God, but did not worship him every day and was not superstitious.
“I visit temples. I have visited Nanjanagud, Tirupati and a few others. However, I see God in two forms. One, in people and another in the form my conscience. I believe in fulfilling the promises I make to people according to my conscience. I have had an unblemished political career,” he added.
Clarifying on the watch issue again, the Chief Minister said it was a gift from a friend. Earlier, JD(S) floor leader, H.D Kumaraswamy claimed he had never tried to tarnish the Chief Minister's image through the watch episode.
“When I raked up the issue, I just said that the Chief Minister, who was from a Lohia background was wearing expensive watches. But it was you (Mr Siddaramaiah), who gave different statements. First, you said you would give away the watch for Rs 20 lakhs and later for Rs five lakhs. Then you said your friend gave it to you and later you revealed his name. And the media kept the issue alive,'' he argued, recalling that even the Speaker had commented after getting the watch from the Chief Minister that he was not sure if it was stolen. “This has given a very wrong signal. I request you not to keep that watch in the Cabinet hall as there are some doubts about it,'' he added.
While Mr Kagodu Thimmappa admitted making such a statement, he clarified that all he meant was he was not sure of the watch’s legal status and whether the customs duty had been paid on it or not.
Mr Siddaramaiah responded that FEMA did not come into this case, as his friend was wearing the watch whien he came to India. “It was a used watch and he simply removed it from his wrist and put it on mine. He has given an affidavit in this regard,” he maintained....