Mysuru: There may be many who believe otherwise but former chief minister and the ruling coalition’s co-ordination committee head, Mr Siddaramaiah firmly believes that the so-called Modi wave is non-existent in the country as the BJP-led NDA government has failed to keep its promises or address the problems of the common man, farmers, youth and women.
With the much-hyped ‘achhe din’ remaining a dream, the BJP will not be able to win a majority of the seats in the Lok Sabha polls, said Mr Siddaramaiah during an interaction with media persons, hosted by Mysuru district journalists association on Tuesday. Asked what would work in favour of the Congress, the former CM said the alliances the party had struck with regional parties including the JD(S) in Karnataka would help it muster a good number of seats across the country and a minimum 20 in Karnataka enabling the UPA to bounce back to power at the Centre.
On the BJP’s claim that it was able to provide a stable government during its five-year tenure and people were aspiring for the same stability again, Mr Siddaramaiah quipped, “Were the governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh for 10 years, Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi for 17 years and Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao for five years each, not stable? A stable government is not defined by its ability to remain in power for a long time but by the extent to which it makes people feel more secure.”
When asked if alliances had been beneficial to the Congress, he said, “We won by huge margins in the bypolls held in Jamkhandi, Bellari, Mandya and Ramanagara last year while the margin of defeat in the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat fell drastically. Alliances will help us get a good number of seats.”
On the murmurs of discontent among Congress and JD(S) workers in places like Mandya and Mysuru, he asserted that there was no conflict in the coalition though there was dissatisfaction at the workers’ level. “The JD (S) and Congress were rivals for several years but things are settling down now. I campaigned in Chamundeswari constituency with Mr G.T. Devegowda (who defeated him in the Assembly polls), we did not see any conflict among party workers. Our bigger enemy is the BJP, not JD (S),” he said.
When asked if the Lok Sabha poll results and the stability of the coalition government were interlinked, he said, “There is no connection, the coalition government will continue. Recently, in Chamarajnagar, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa said the coalition government will collapse after May 23. Even if Yeddyurappa turns upside down (thipparlaaga haakidru sarkaara beesak aagalla), they cannot topple the coalition government in the next four years.”
On reports doing the rounds that the BJP would amend the Constitution if the party comes to power again, the former CM said, “During the tenure of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a committee led by former Chief Justice of India Venkatachalaiah was formed to review the Constitution. (But it was stopped after several protests by the Congress and others. Without the knowledge of Mr Modi and Amit Shah, is it possible for a minister (Anant Kumar Hedge) to make statements on amending the Constitution?”
When asked why he was adamant on retaining Mysuru-Kodagu seat for the Congress, he said, “We had won in Mysuru in 13 of the 16 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won thrice and the JD (S) has never won here. Also our vote share here is more.”
On Mr Narendra Modi’s reported call to first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the Indian army, he said, “Patriotism is being used to mislead people but they (BJP) will not benefit. Was the Indian army not there in the past 16 elections? Even we respect the army. It was Lal Bahadur Shastri who gave the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’. In the post-independence era, there have been 12 surgical strikes and four wars. It is the first time that the army has been dragged into politics. The Congress which fought for Independence does not have to learn patriotism from the BJP. Who gave voting rights to those who turn 18? It was late Rajiv Gandhi. The Constitution and democracy are in grave danger.
Unemployment has increased by 6.2 percent, which is the highest in the past 40 years,” he said.
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