'Running the govt is the job of the ministers'

'Siddaramaiah is busy criticising state govt'

Despite being a new entrant to the JD(S), Hunsur MLA and former Congress veteran A H Vishwanath has already carved a niche for himself in the regional party by taking over its reins as the state president. Vishwanath is now making concerted efforts at gaining a foothold in the coordination committee of the coalition government, which is headed by his friend-turned-foe Siddaramaiah.

Vishwanath, who has been blaming Siddaramaiah for his exit from the Congress, said that he had never imagined that he will have to work in close tandem with the former chief minister again. Not one to mince words, Vishwanath also says that Siddaramaiah is not as invested in following the "coalition dharma", as he should be. Excerpts from an interview with Ashwini Y S of DH.

* You have been very vocal in your criticism of Siddaramaiah, who happens to be your party’s coalition partner.

The job of the coordination committee chairman is to ensure that the philosophies of both the Congress and the JD(S) are upheld. Instead, there were criticisms (about the JD-S) that some of the flagship programmes announced by the previous government were discontinued. But one needs to understand that the Congress announced numerous programmes in an election year, knowing fully well that they cannot be implemented. It was done only as an election strategy. Where are the resources to implement all those assurances? In fact, these issues need to be discussed in the coordination committee, behind closed doors. Grouses should not be aired publicly.

* Are you saying that Siddaramaiah has failed in discharging his responsibilities as the coordination panel chairman?

Running the government is the job of the ministers of the Congress and the JD(S). But ensuring coordination between the two parties is the job of Siddaramaiah. Instead, he is busy criticising the government. He is a senior politician and a former chief minister. He should know better. A separate secretariat has been created for him. But what is he doing? Appointments to the boards and corporations are still pending. Power has to be distributed - big or small. But none of these responsibilities have been fulfilled to this day by the committee headed by him. Merely writing letters to the government will not help matters.

* Will you take up these issues with Siddaramaiah, now that your status in the party has been elevated? Also, will you make an attempt at ironing out your issues with him.

If I enter the coordination committee, I will definitely take up these matters with him. There are no differences between us. Siddaramaiah is Siddaramaiah, Vishwanath is Vishwanath.

* What are your plans for the party?

Many leaders left the JD(S) in the past. I have an open request to make, particularly to the second line leaders. I request them to come back to our party to build a new era in Karnataka. Whoever will join us in the government and in the party, will be given important positions. I want a new team of youngsters to strengthen the party. I want to bring them to the forefront. We had got 18 lakh votes in north Karnataka in the last Assembly elections. The aim is to double it in the Lok Sabha elections.

* Will you introduce changes in the party?

Changes should definitely be introduced. We are looking for bringing about structural changes. The party should give opportunities to all the sections, regions, youngsters and educated women. These structural changes will be introduced on the basis of inclusive ‘rajaneeti’. 

* When will the new office-bearers be appointed?

The exercise will be carried out soon after the local body elections.

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