Without mincing words, state Janata Dal (Secular) President A.H. Vishwanath accused the BJP of playing ‘dangerous politics’ with a democratically formed government. The lotus party may have to pay a heavy price in the coming Lok Sabha polls if it disturbs the Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, he said. Here are excerpts of an interview with Mr Vishwanath regarding the omgoing political drama in Karnataka.
What is happening in Karnataka and who is responsible for the current crisis?
Power politics is ruling the roost. A coalition government formed by Congress and JD(S) is being ridiculed and attempts are being made to dislodge it through undemocratic means. The chief minister has been duly elected by both parties but he is not allowed to deliver the goods because of poaching attempts on the MLAs of Congress and JD(S).
Will the second budget presented by Chief Minister Kumaraswamy sail through on February 15 if the BJP manages to make a sizeable number of legislators resign this week?
The budget for the year 2019-20 has to be passed by both Houses failing which all financial activities of the government will come to a standstill. There will be no money in the treasury to pay salary to employees and for development works. People will curse the BJP if it stalls the passage of the budget claiming the government is in a minority. Even if the BJP manages to form the government on its own it will require many days to make preparations for the new budget. Till then everything will be stalled. If the BJP does this, it will face serious consequences in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Why is the CM holding the BJP responsible for the current happenings when the Congress party has failed to curb indiscipline?
Yes. You are right. Even the Congress is equally responsible for the chaos. It delayed action against five to six disgruntled MLAs creating confusion in the incumbent government. But, I am happy to note that the Congress party is taking this matter seriously. Already CLP leader Siddaramaiah has moved a proposal for the disqualification of a section of legislators who have stopped attending the session despite serving notice and issuing the whip on them. Taking action against these MLAs is not a big thing as it is a lengthy process and time consuming. However, the Congress has already initiated action to keep its House in order.
Do you think the JD(S) has become a victim in the fight between Congress and BJP?
I don't think our party is a victim. In fact, the BJP is all set to become a victim for enacting a big tamasha before the people. People will give them a fitting reply if they try to dislodge a government-be it a minority or majority government. If the BJP leaders continue to do this, they will become real victims. So far, no BJP leader has openly said why they want to throw this government out of power. For the first time in the history of Karnataka, an opposition party has got 104 MLAs in its kitty and it can tear apart the government in case of any wrong doing. Instead of doing this, the BJP is dreaming day in and day out of pulling down the coalition government. For no reason they obstructed the governor from addressing both Houses of the state legislature. The BJP legislators must understand that they are duly elected by people and they have a responsibility towards the electorate.
State BJP President B.S. Yeddyurappa has accused the CM of manufacturing an audio tape to defame him. Besides, he has attacked Mr Kumaraswamy for changing his statements three times. Your comments?
(Laughs) The CM has already said that he too will play the political game as being done by BJP. . We need to give a fitting reply to the BJP when the time comes. Now, Mr Yeddyurappa has been caught red-handed in the audio tape while having a conversation with the son of the JD(S) MLA from Gurmitkal. I didn't know whether the CM asked the MLA's son to record the conversation deliberately to expose the BJP leader. An inquiry will reveal whose voice is in the audio tape-whether of Mr Yeddyurappa or some other person.
The Congress has staked its claim to the Mandya seat in an attempt to field Ms Sumalatha Ambarish. But the CM wants to field his son, Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy. Will the JD(S) leave that seat to the Congress?
At any cost, there is no question of giving that seat to the Congress as we have our sitting MP Mr L.R. Shivaramegowda. I don't know whether Ms Sumalatha will contest from Mandya on a Congress ticket. But this seat is ours and our party supremo Mr H.D. Deve Gowda will decide who is our party candidate- Mr Nikhil or Mr Shivaramegowda. No meeting has been held with regard to seat sharing but we have demanded 12 of the total 28 seats and have already given a list of 12 seats to Congress. Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Mr Deve Gowda, Mr Siddaramaiah, CM Kumaraswamy, KPCC President Dinesh Gundurao and AICC general secretary and Incharge of Karnataka K.C. Venugopal will sit and take a final call.