“People Of Karnataka Don’t Vote For The Same Party On The Same Issue Twice” —HD Kumaraswamy
JD(S) Karnataka President
“People of Karnataka are wise. They do not vote for the same party on the same issue twice.” This is the firm opinion of former Chief Minister of Karnataka and JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy when asked if his successor BS Yeddyurappa could once again whip up emotions and play a betrayal card, this time against the BJP. In his view, Yeddyurappa has played the emotional card too many times and people have realised that he is taking them for a ride.
According to Kumaraswamy, he was aware of the incompetence of the BJP leadership in running the administration and hence he hesitated to hand over the power to BJP in October 2007. He asserted that many ministers were corrupt during the 20:20 regime but refused to disclose their names.
“I was aware of the damage that the BJP would cause to the state’s interests. But when I hesitated, I was accused of being a betrayar and back-stabber. Now, I have been proved right. The last five years of BJP rule, no matter who was the Chief Minister, have been disastrous,” the JD(S) state president said. “People are going to create a 19-year-old history of 1994 once again by voting JD(S) to power with a comfortable majority,” he added, in his exclusive conversation with our Special Correspondent S A Hemantha Kumar. Excerpts:
On what basis do you say that JD(S) will be chosen by the people to rule the state in the May 5 Assembly polls?
People are disillusioned with the BJP’s so-called performance as well as the theatrics indulged in by their MLAs and leaders. Congress too is in a bad shape, both in the state and at the Centre. It is only the JD(S) which has earned the goodwill of the people by its pro-people programmes and fight against the corruption and maladministration of the BJP government. While the JD(S) set the agenda—whether it be illegal mining issue or denotification—the Congress only followed us.
JD(S) is perceived to be a party centered only around Vokkaligas besides having lost its social and geographical reach. How can you come to power on your own?
This is a wrong notion and a canard being spread by vested interests. JD(S) is the only party that has the capability to strike a social balance and provide social justice. Look at our list of candidates. We have given utmost prominence to all castes and creed throughout the state. We are the only pan-Karnataka party, having base in all sections of society and in all regions.
What about the fact that your party being anti-Lingayat after you refused to hand over power to BS Yeddyurappa in 2007?
JD(S) has outgrown that phase. People have seen through the game being played by Yeddyurappa. People of Karnataka are wise. They do not vote for the same person on the same emotional issue twice. People have realised that this man has taken them for a ride too many times. After bullying the JD(S) in 2008, Yeddyurappa tried to do something similar in his own party. He was shown the door. Now he is into another gimmick. It will not click.
Going by your argument and logic, people may not give another chance to BJP. But why should they not vote for the Congress? Why JD(S)?
Has the Congress done anything meaningful and concrete so as to earn the goodwill of the people. It is only basking on BJP’s negative vote. Except for organising padayatra from Bengaluru to Bellary which, otherwise, was a fiasco, has the Congress done anything sensible both inside and outside the legislature? It was JD(S) and a section of media who and exposed the corruption and maladministration of the BJP government. We exposed its hypocracy. It was only then that the Congress made some noise, inside and outside the Assembly. Along with this cosmetic touch of the Congress towards state issues, it has lost its image and credibility at the Centre on account of corruption of huge dimensions. The mal-administration of the UPA 2 is too glaring to be ignored. People are disillusioned with the Congress also. Do you think they will vote that party to power in Karnataka? Never. It is only the JD(S) which is the obvious and natural choice.
We hear that there are differences between you and your father as well as between family members on the issue of giving tickets. Can you comment?
I do not want comment on my family’s internal affairs. In the party, there are bound to be differences in perceptions on many issues. That is the beauty of our party’s internal democracy. HD Deve Gowda is the tallest leader not only in our party and state but at the national level. His knowledge and experience will definitely help us come to power. At this age, he is a tireless worker, which means we are blessed to have his guidance.
What is your promise to the people?
BJP has taken our state back by 20 years. It has ruined everything. We will re-build Karnataka on the twin principles of secularism and social justice, with farmers, youth and women as the fulcrum of our developmental process. We have experience in administration. We have been tried and tested. Our past mistakes will be our guiding light.
There is a talk of JD(S) joining hands with BJP after the polls.
It is a canard being spread by vested interests. JD(S) will form the government on its own.