Kumaraswamy stands by comments on Gandhi

Kumaraswamy stands by comments on Gandhi

"If Gandhiji were to be there in present day politics, he would have either compromised (on corruption) or quit," Kumaraswamy told reporters here, asserting, "I will not go back on my words."

Kumaraswamy, whose remarks on Gandhi evoked all round condemnation, defended it saying he had "deliberately" cited Gandhi in an effort to drive home the point that rampant corruption had seeped into politics.

The former Karnataka chief minister said he never meant to show disrespect to the Father of the Nation. "We have hung the portraits of Gandhiji and JP (Jayprakash Narayan) in the party office as a mark of our respect to them," he said.

Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, also expressed doubts over the efficacy of the proposed Lokpal Bill in combating corruption. The JD-S Karnataka chief wondered how the proposed Lokpal with members nominated by the Government on its panel would be able to suggest effective measures against corruption, which he said had taken "deep roots in the society".

"Has the Lokayukta been able to punish any corrupt official so far? We see the Lokayukta sleuths raiding and trapping so many officials. What happens to them?" Kumaraswamy asked.

Kumaraswamy however hastened to add that he does not mean to discourage the efforts launched by Gandian Anna Hazare against corruption. Claiming that the movement launched by Narayan had failed, he said, "It is my earnest hope that Anna Hazare's campaign does not meet the same end."

After his remarks on Gandhi had stirred up a controversy, with leaders including Gandhian Anna Hazare, who led a successful agitation on the Lokpal Bill issue, taking exception to it, Kumaraswamy had claimed he was misquoted.

"If our leaders are talking like this, how are you going to root out corruption," Hazare had said. Union Finance Minister and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee had dismissed it as "meaningless utterances."

The BJP too had slammed the JD-S leader, with its senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asking "what else can you expect from Mr Kumaraswamy? Nothing better."

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