Nation Politics 14 May 2017 Vishwanath: I regret ...

Vishwanath: I regret proposing Siddaramaiah for CM

Published May 14, 2017, 9:46 am IST
Updated May 14, 2017, 10:01 am IST
He could quit the party Mr. Vishwanath appeared to be most disappointed by the disrespect shown to seniors by Mr Siddaramaiah.
Q&A          A.H. Vishwanath Veteran Congress Leader
 Q&A A.H. Vishwanath Veteran Congress Leader

Bengaluru: He has always been outspoken. Never one  to mince his words, veteran Congress leader, Adaguru H Vishwanath, has of late taken on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah himself, even shooting off a letter to AICC general secretary, K C Venugopal decrying the “lack of democracy” within the party.  With rumours of his quitting the Congress doing the rounds, Deccan Chronicle caught up with the former Member of Parliament from Mysuru to discuss the issues bothering him and whether there was any possibility of a patch- up with the Chief Minister.    Admitting that he could quit the party, Mr Vishwanath appeared to be most disappointed by the “disrespect” shown to seniors by Mr Siddaramaiah. Defending his decision to go public with his grouses, he said he had no choice as no one cared to discuss such issues within the party. “We don't feel this is our government in power in the state,” he lamented.  Excerpts from the interview:

Your party colleague, Janardhan Poojary feels the Congress  may lose the coming 2018 elections to the state assembly. Do you agree?
If we look back at the Congress’ political history  it’s easy to see what could happen as it has all happened in the past. 


The party has  decided to go to the polls under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. If voted to power, he will be CM again. What is your take on this?
Exercising their franchise is upto the people. The party can only canvass. I can’t say anything. The party will have to go to the people next year for the assembly elections. What is it going to tell the voters? 

The Siddaramaiah government has completed four years in power. What are its achievements and why do you think there is such a negative atmosphere in the state?
(pause..) It was alright earlier, but gradually things have worsened, There is a negative atmosphere in the state, because of the arrogance of the Chief Minister. In a democracy nobody is king and we are answerable to the public. But Mr Siddaramaiah thinks he is king and  cannot be questioned. 


 You gave a three- page letter to AICC general secretary, K.C. Venugopal in which you accused the Chief Minister of being arrogant and claimed there was no internal democracy in the party . But  Mr Siddaramaiah says he is very democratic in his functioning. Can you explain why you feel this way?
He is only praising himself when he says he is democratic. A leader who is democratic listens to others and respects them. But Siddaramaiah has not treated some senior leaders with respect. There is no internal democracy in the party either. Internal democracy means convening meetings with senior leaders and discussing the omissions and commissions of the government in party forums .  I was defeated in the parliamentary elections held three years ago and so were others. But till date neither the Chief Minister nor the  KPCC president has convened a meeting to discuss what happened  and why. Nobody invited us to talk about this and we don’t  feel we are a part and parcel of  this government or  that this is  our party’s government in the state. Neither the way the Chief Minister  or the KPCC president functions is fair. They are both adamant and arrogant.


Why did you make your allegations public?  Many in your party claim you are publicity hungry. 
I am not  making allegations against anybody. What I am saying is the truth. It is factual. The party and the government want us to express our views in a party forum. But where is the forum? There is no party platform where we can discuss and sort out our problems. So it is inevitable for us to take our problems out on the streets and go to the media. They are talking about party discipline but I am talking about the party’s functioning. After five years you have not taken party workers into confidence, although they are the ones who are expected to  work for you in  the next elections.


You said you may leave the party. Why so and if you do, which party are you likely to join?
I may (leave). I am consulting my friends and party colleagues. Till my last breath I will consider the Congress party as my mother. But there are many reasons . Only when I resign, will the question of which party I should join will arise. 

When Mr S M Krishna decided to leave the party, you advised him not to. But now you want to leave yourself.
It is not because of just one person. There are many reasons.  When Krishnaji quit the party he said nobody respects us seniors or  listens to us or  takes us into confidence anymore.  


Five years ago at a Kuruba convention in Davanagere you proposed that Siddaramaiah should become CM. Do You regret that now?
Yes,  I now regret proposing his name. 

Exactly when did your friendship with Mr Siddaramaiah turn sour and why?
It all happened gradually. I never went to him with any demands or any expectations.  My only wish was for the party to flourish. People of Karnataka had voted for us with a lot of expectations. But they have not been fulfilled and this is what we are trying to convey.  

Is there a possibility of a patch- up between you and the Chief Minister?
No , there is none. There are many reasons. Siddaramaiah’s attitude is one of them.


Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru