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Candid Siddaramaiah says he is not totally clean

Bangalore, August 29, 2013, DHNS:

No takers for Hegde's value-based politics, rues chief minister

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday made an honest admission that he had fought elections using funds provided by others.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Criminalisation of politics’ organised by the Rashtriya Navanirmana Vedike on the occasion of the 87th birth anniversary of former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde, Siddaramaiah said he had to make the “compromise” to survive in today’s political state of affairs.

Admitting that there had been degradation of politics over the last few decades, Siddaramaiah said, “Money and muscle power are being used to win elections. If I say I am 100 per cent honest, then I will be betraying my conscience. I have come to a compromise.

People provide me funds to fight election. I do not know the source of these funds, but I have used them to fight elections. That way I cannot say I am totally clean.”
The chief minister said there were instances when people had openly wondered why a person without money power was contesting elections.

Siddaramaiah said it was his wish that value-based politics advocated by Hegde is followed by politicians today.

“Hegde resigned twice during his tenure as chief minister just because allegations were levelled against him. Today politicians do not want to resign even if they are sent to jail,” he said.

He recalled that it was Hegde who had first made him minister in 1984 (sericulture department), even though he had won as an independent candidate.

Youth encouraged

“Hegde gave opportunities to the youth. He never indulged in revenge politics. He never treated even those who opposed him politically as his rivals,” Siddaramaiah said.

JD(S) leader and former minister M C Nanaiah felt that the portrayal by the media that Hegde was prime minister material in the 1980s might have distracted the former chief minister from focussing on state politics.

“Otherwise, he would have definitely continued as chief minister for one more term in the state,” Nanaiah said.

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande said programmes and reforms like decentralisation of power at the village level, food subsidy to the poor, loans at low rate of interest for farmers initiated by Hegde during his tenure as chief minister were relevant even to this day.

SC ruling: Experts differ

Two prominent legal experts sharing the same dais on Thursday had divergent opinions on the recent Supreme Court ruling on the disqualification of MPs and MLAs immediately upon conviction.

While Advocate General (A-G) Ravi Verma Kumar said the verdict needed to be reviewed as it could be misused by political rivals, his predecessor Uday Holla said the Supreme Court verdict was in the right direction and it would usher in reforms in the political process.

They were speaking at the seminar on ‘criminalisation of politics’.

The Apex court had recently struck down as ultra vires a provision of the Representation of the People’s Act, which protects a convicted legislator or MP against disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal against their conviction in the higher courts.

Kumar, who made it is clear that he was giving his personal opinion and not as A-G, said
the verdict could lead to unnecessary complication, if appeals are allowed by higher courts.

“Say a convicted lawmaker is disqualified and re-election is held to fill the vacancy. But what happens if a higher court strikes down the conviction?” he said. Holla said the apex court had taken the provisions of the Constitution into consideration while delivering its interpretation and it would help in preventing degradation of politics.


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