Watch: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah tells NH “Peace, progress will win”

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tells National Herald, “Karnataka voters are mature, they know whom to choose. Peace and progress will win over hatred and tainted leaders”

Photo by Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images
Photo by Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images
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Bhasha Singh

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the face of the Congress campaign for the Karnataka assembly elections, is know for his wit, satire and rustic humour, all of which was amply on display throughout the campaign, especially through his frequent witty tweets, which he used to turn the tables on his opponent’s jibes at him. Despite representing a national party himself, he is credited with successfully pitting Congress as a symbol of regional Kannadiga pride against ‘national party', BJP, and leaving regional party Janata Dal (Secular) way behind. Just before the hectic election campaign ended, CM Siddaramaiah spoke with National Herald’s Bhasha Singh in an exclusive interview at his official residence in Bengaluru.

Watch the interview and read excerpts below:


How do you see the current scenario at the end of the election campaign?

The current scenario is in favour of the Congress party. It is because the development work our government has carried out and the way we have fulfilled our promises. Benefits have reached the people of Karnataka. They know how we run the government. Due to this, there is no anti incumbency against our government. Even BJP is in panic because of this. They are not able to find any faults. People are happy with our government and we will come back with full majority. The Congress party is asking for votes for the good work done by our government. We have given a clean government that has delivered on most promises made in our manifesto. We have given a stable government, which has been scam free. We are confident people will vote us back to power

Congress is fighting this election without any partners. In a scenario where you need support to attain majority, how you will manage, given BJP’s track record of forming governments even where Congress has secured more seats?

It is not going to happen in Karnataka. Karnataka is different state. It is not like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra or Rajasthan. People of Karnataka are mature, they know what political decision they have to take. They are going to take a historical decision. They know what BJP stands for in Karnataka. What they did in Karnataka also is a known fact. The way BJP is relying on leaders from outside Karnataka, is also seen as insult of Karnataka intellect. They have only tainted leaders in their fold.

How are you going to counter communal polarisation?

BJP’s communal card does not work in Karnataka. This is a land of saints and sufis. Basavanna, Kanakadasa, Shishunala Sharif preached equality, love and devotion. BJP has tried the communal card and failed.

Siddaramaiah: “The way BJP is relying on leaders from outside Karnataka, is also seen as insult of Karnataka intellect. They have only tainted leaders in their fold”

How do you view the challenge from BJP’s CM face BS Yeddurappa?

He is a tainted person. He has gone to jail. On one side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Yeddurappa is sitting and on the other side is Reddy. Both are full in corruption and both have brought bad name to Karnataka. It is known to everyone. You see BJP is not able to get a single leader from Karnataka, who is not tainted. They tried their level best to play communal card, but they don’t know Karnataka, it is a land of harmony, peace, it is land of Basava. We have been living here in his ideology of inclusion, whereas BJP-RSS are just for hatred.

Siddaramaiah: “BJP’s communal card does not work in Karnataka. This is a land of saints and sufis. Basavanna, Kanakadasa, Shishunala Sharif preached equality, love and devotion. BJP has tried the communal card and failed”

There are reports that indicates that Congress move on separate religion status for Lingayats has boomeranged. What is your take on that?

The decision to recommend independent religion status to Lingayats is our response to the demand from the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community. It is not a political move. We have not made it a political issue.

The way PM Narendra Modi was campaigning in Karnataka, and was taking you head, it seems you were in a direct fight with the PM.

No, no. I am not in direct fight with PM. My fight is with Yeddurappa. How PM Modi is looking into things, doesn’t make a difference to me. I know on which ground I am standing, and where I am leading . Anyhow, this is my last election. After 5 years I will be in politics but will not contest elections.

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Published: 11 May 2018, 2:07 PM