“What’s wrong with looking for a CM job?” Siddaramaiah @ 75 Bares Plan for new innings. Is Shivakumar listening?
Tall cutouts, bunting-clad roads and a 3,000-metre-long illustrated biography of opposition leader Siddaramaiah mark the launch of grand celebrations for his 75th birthday to great fanfare in Karnataka’s Davangere on Wednesday.
Calling it a milestone in his life, Siddaramaiah, in an exclusive interview with News18, shared the significance of the celebrations – which Rahul Gandhi will also be attending – the state of Karnataka’s politics and his future plans.
For a leader who hasn’t celebrated his birthday in 75 years, Siddaramaiah said his friends and supporters felt it was necessary to toast this important life milestone.
“Actually, no one knows my real date of birth,” smiled Siddaramaiah as he revealed to News18. “My school principal, Ranjana, wrote this date on my school certificate. My parents are illiterate and did not know how to keep our dates of birth. Thus, the date of August 3 was mentioned for the first time by my director. That’s why I never celebrated my birthday. But this time, my friends and supporters convinced me and I reluctantly accepted,” he adds.
#karnataka @INCKarnataka leaders cut a cake late last night to celebrate @siddaramaiah ‘s 75th birthday at davangere. Siddaramaiah kept telling his fans and friends that he had never cut a cake in his life and this time he cut so many! @DKShivakumar @thekjgeorge @RV_Deshpande pic.twitter.com/9zLaq1z0DH
—Rohini Swamy (@Rohini_Swamy) August 3, 2022
But beyond the love and affection of his friends and supporters, the 75th anniversary celebrations – called Siddaramaiah 75 Amruth Mahotsava – certainly carry strong political significance. Widely seen as a show of force to gauge the extent of Siddaramaiah’s popularity, the event takes on even greater significance just before the 2023 Assembly polls. The underlying power struggle between the Congress leader of the State, DK Shivakumar, and Siddaramaiah was evident in several speeches delivered via various platforms across the state.
However, Siddaramaiah denies any “tension” between the leaders. “There is no standoff between Shivakumar and me. We work together as one unit for the Congress party,” he said.
But when asked if he still aspires to become Karnataka’s Chief Minister, the veteran politician deflected the question with ease, saying it ultimately hinged on Congress winning the election and the decision by the newly elected deputies to choose the CM candidate.
“If someone wants to be a CM, there’s nothing wrong with that. If DK Shivakumar wants to be, Kharge wants to be or Parameshwara wants to be, what’s wrong with that? In the end Ultimately, the decision will be made by the elected deputies and the high command,” he said.
Siddaramaiah also strongly criticized the BJP government led by Basavaraj Bommai, calling it corrupt, lawless and incompetent. He said there was strong anti-incumbent sentiment against the BJP government, which has only plundered people with its corrupt practices.
“Never in my political life have I come across such a corrupt government. This is not my statement but that of the Entrepreneurs Association who openly wrote to the Prime Minister of the country that the BJP government in Karnataka is a ‘40% commission’ government Most of the cases have no documentary evidence and it is clear that this BJP government is corrupt and non-performing,” Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking of Bommai, who has just completed a year in power after being handed over as chief minister as BS Yediyurappa was relegated to the “Margadarshak Mandal” by the BJP high command, the former congress chief minister said declared that he was not fit to be Chief Minister. and is the head of one of the most corrupt governments in the country.
“Where is the governance in this state? Bommai is a puppet in the hands of the RSS and does whatever the RSS says,” the Congress leader said.
“He is the chief minister of Karnataka’s 6.5 million people, not the CM of the RSS. Bommai himself is not a “pure” RSS or BJP leader. He had joined Congress at some point. Even those in his ministry are leaders who have been bought off and made ministers to keep them happy. So how can you expect any loyalty? Siddaramaiah added.
While talking about the recent killings in Dakshin Kannada where three people were horribly killed in just 10 days, Siddaramaiah called it a complete failure on the part of the BJP government to handle the issue.
“What happened in Dakshin Kannada is unfortunate. Three murders took place and the third happened when the chief minister himself was in southern Kannada, in that same region! Where is the law and order? What was intelligence doing? He asked.
Siddaramaiah added that Bommai’s visit to the house of slain RSS worker Praveen Nettaru, without visiting the families of Masood and Fazil, reflected the BJP’s mindset of being “one-sided”.
“He should have visited the houses of the other two boys killed, Masood and Fazil. Bommai also awarded compensation only to Praveen. To whom does he distribute the money? Taxpayers’ money, right? He should also have compensated the families of Masood and Fazil. This bias only shows that he is a bigoted CM and unfit to lead Karnataka,” Siddaramaiah told News18.
News18 has learned that the top Congress leader plans to run in a constituency in Bangalore or near the capital. Sources say he could choose to run for Chamarajpet, Hebbal or Kolar in the next elections. At present, Siddaramaiah represents Badami constituency in North Karnataka. In the previous election, he contested from two seats – he won from Badami but lost the seat from Chamundeshwari.
Confirming plans to switch seats, Siddaramaiah said he would be taking a call soon. “Although my constituents and Badami leaders insist that I stand again from there, I think I will go with a seat closer to Bangalore. Badami is very far away and I failed to do justice to the people there and to be available to them on a daily basis. It will be a constituency in or near Bangalore. I will decide soon,” he added.
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