HD Kumaraswamy on poll alliance with Congress: No!

Here are excerpts from an interview with Deccan Chronicle.

Former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the CM candidate of Janata Dal (S) for the 2018 Assembly polls, has already launched his campaign. He recently held a day-long interaction with techies and people who are active on social networking sites. He feels that eleven years after he stepped down as CM in 2007, people will remember his work and bless him in 2018 as they are dejected with the two national parties, Congress and BJP. Here are excerpts from an interview with Deccan Chronicle.

You seem to have already launched the election campaign a year before the polls. Can you sustain the tempo till then?
It is not Kumaraswamy alone, even the Congress and BJP have started their ground work. I started my campaign in view of my experience in 2008 and 2013. In 2013, we could not announce candidates until the announcement of poll dates and in the intervening period, the number of aspirants for party tickets went up in many constituencies. As a result, we lost 35-40 seats. In another 30-40, party candidates lost by a narrow margin of 300 to 3,000 votes. Even in our safe constituencies, some moneybags would come and wean away our important workers. So, I have started the campaign highlighting district and state problems.

Are you going to officially announce the list or do you want to send a quiet message to candidates to commence the ground work?
In some, I have passed a quiet messages to our potential candidates to start work. In 70-80 constituencies, we have sent out this message. The official announcement on the candidates is yet to be made.

Mr Deve Gowda (JD-S) supremo and Kumaraswamy’s father) is going around the state appealing to people to make his son chief minister. Doesn’t it send a wrong a message? For Deve Gowda, making his son the chief minister seems more important than the state’s welfare..
No. It is not like that. When I became CM with BJP support, I went against his wishes (in 2006). Perhaps, he remembers the programmes we initiated during those 20 months we were in power with the BJP. He might have seen how the two national parties behave when issues such as Cauvery, Mahadayi and Krishna river dispute come up. When Dharam Singh was CM, he (Mr Gowda) had suggested that the state file a memo before the Cauvery tribunal saying that it had no confidence in the tribunal and it should be reconstituted. But Mr Singh did not listen. He thinks that if I become CM, I will work in the interests of the state. There is no selfish motive in his statement.

You have said in public meetings that the state’s interests could not be protected by the two national parties because they have a high command in Delhi. But the fact is, in your party, the high command is in Padmanabha Nagar (Deve Gowda’s residence)..
No. No one will interfere.

Your brothers and many others will interfere (in the functioning of the party). It is a fact..
Never. If you are speaking about Revanna, he does so in the interests of the state. We have seen how he handled the PWD and power portfolios during the 20-month rule of the JD(S)-BJP government. Otherwise, none of our family members interfere in the administration.

There is talk of a Mahaghatbandhan between the opposition parties at the national level. Will JD (S) go with the Congress if other national leaders persuade Mr Gowda?
We will not join hands with the Congress in any circumstance because they are corrupt. I will give you an example. A ruling party MLA openly says he has already kept Rs 10 crore and therefore will have no problems in contesting the polls next year.

You had a golden opportunity to set the tone for the 2018 polls. When you had a good candidate in Nanjangud in Kalale Keshavamurthy, you could have fielded him and won the seat. Why did you hand him over to the Congress party on a platter?
Soon after V. Srinivas Prasad resigned from the Congress, they (Congress) started an operation to lure Kalale because, he is Chamarajnagar Congress MP Dhruvanarayan’s relative. Mr Deve Gowda did not want to field candidates in the by-polls. I did commission a survey before the by-polls which said the BJP would win both seats. But these by-election results will not influence the outcome of the general election. When SM Krishna was CM, the Congress won two by-polls and later in the general elections, one of those seats went to BJP and the other was won by us! During BJP rule, bypolls were held to 21 seats. We won eight and the Congress won only one. But in the 2013 general elections, the trends changed (the Congress swept the polls).

Many loyalists say that you go according to the plan till three months before the polls. Then, you sell party tickets.
In the past, a few who were with us had sold tickets. After the experience of 2008 and 2013, I have decided not to give tickets for the sake of party funds. We give tickets only to our party workers.

After you joined hands with BJP in 2006, you were dubbed communal. Eleven years since then, have you turned secular?
Unlike the Congress and BJP which seek vote on communal lines, I seek votes on issues. People cutting across caste and communal lines like me. I go to north Karnataka where people from all communities come to my meetings and rallies. The Congress and BJP took development to rock bottom by raking up communal issues. Recently I went to Madikeri. I interacted with many people who said they did not want any development, they only want to live in peace. People are slowly coming to us.

Coming to another issue, you joined hands with the Congress in BBMP promising good governance and beat the BJP to the mayoral posts. See the result. The city is in shambles. You could not solve the Bellandur lake problem and the NGT had to step in. What people-centric issues are you going to talk about in the poll campaign?
Yes I agree with your point. The mistake happened. City MLAs were responsible for this. They never interacted with us on development. The Congress never heeded my view. I had cautioned our leaders about striking the alliance but they did not take note of it. The question is- what kind of development does Bengaluru city need? The government is not bothered about development, it is busy collecting money. I appeal to people to give me one chance as you have given chances to both BJP and Congress.

You speak about corruption of the present government. But your track record on this count is not impressive. You and your father openly supported two former KPSC chairmen, Dr H.N. Krishna and Gonal Bhimappa. Dr Krishna went to jail and Mr Bhimappa’s track record is not so clean.
The issue of corruption came up when a gentleman named Pattanashetty headed KPSC. When Dr Krishna became chairman, he exposed the misdeeds of the previous chairman and others including Monappa, an IAS officer. About Gonal Bhimappa, the CID probe was over. There were no charges against him. The charges levelled against him were very vague. Apparently, he asked students to opt for geography and the paper was very easy and they got high marks. Nothing was proved. Now, I hear that they (those in power) take '1.5 crore for the posting of an assistant commissioner and '75 lakh for the deputy superintendent of police post. The government has failed to curb corruption in KPSC.

Recently, the Supreme Court asked the SIT to investigate the mining cases against you and Dharam Singh and give a report in three months. Are you worried that it could tighten the noose around you?
I am not worried because I was not involved. If they really pursue the investigation, a few ministers in the present government and a few officers will go behind bars.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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