Siddaramaiah goes all guns blazing against Deve Gowda

Siddaramaiah

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah on Friday launched a tirade against his mentor-turned-rival, JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda, making it evident that the two have not buried the hatchet of their political bad blood. 

In a no-holds-barred rebuttal, Siddaramaiah told a news conference that he was not responsible for the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition that was headed by Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy. He was responding to Gowda, who told a newspaper interview recently that it was Siddaramaiah who caused the collapse, a charge he subsequently reiterated to news channels. 

“I'll never stoop so low that I'd want to topple a government,” Siddaramaiah said. “That is the virtue by birth for Deve Gowda and his sons (Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna). Gowda is an expert in toppling governments,” he said. 

“Gowda has claimed I couldn’t digest Kumaraswamy becoming the CM. Our high command decided that the Congress, with 80 MLAs, would extend support to the JD(S) that has 37 MLAs. I agreed without speaking a word because I didn’t want the BJP to come to power. For 14 months, I gave complete support. Never did I interfere with the government or administration,” he said. 

“The truth is this: Gowda, Kumaraswamy and Revanna are the reasons why the coalition fell. The MLAs are saying this, not me. If all MLAs had been taken into confidence and their constituency works taken care of, none would’ve been disgruntled,” Siddaramaiah said. 

“I was CM for a full 5-year term. Why didn’t a single MLA go against me? But in this case, unilateral decision-making and the failure to take MLAs and ministers into confidence that were the reasons for the government’s fall. Nothing else. To hide their mistakes, they are trying to pass the blame onto me,” he said. 

The Congress leader went a step further to say that the BJP came to power in the state because of Gowda and Kumaraswamy. “They are responsible for the BJP to grow in Karnataka. It would not have happened if they hadn’t withdrawn support to the Dharam Singh government overnight to join hands with the BJP. They struck an agreement with the BJP to run the government for 20 months, after which Yediyurappa should’ve been given the charge. But if the JD(S) hadn’t broken their promise, Yediyurappa would’ve been CM for 20 months and done. Instead, the BJP won 110 seats because of Gowda and Kumaraswamy,” he charged. 

Gowda has also claimed that Siddaramaiah worked against the JD(S) in the recent Lok Sabha polls, in which Gowda himself lost from Tumkur and his grandson Nikhil from Mandya. 

“It’s true I told our high command that we shouldn’t have an alliance with the JD(S) for the Lok Sabha polls, but the alliance was made nonetheless. If I’m responsible for Nikhil’s defeat, who is responsible for Congress candidates losing in Chamarajanagar, Mysore, Kolar and Chikkaballapur? And then, how did Prajwal win from Hassan? Didn’t Congress workers support him there? Gowda and Nikhil lost because people were fed up with family politics. That’s the truth,” Siddaramaiah said. 

At one time, Siddaramaiah was with the JD(S) and was considered Gowda’s protege. In 2005, Gowda expelled Siddaramaiah who began exercises to emerge as the leader of the Ahinda (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits). 

“Gowda doesn’t allow anyone to flourish, except his own children and family. He doesn’t allow his own kind - Vokkaligas - to grow. What happened to Byre Gowda, Nagegowda, Chandregowda, Govinde Gowda, Jeevaraj Alwa,” he asked, suggesting Gowda had politically snubbed them. 

“Gowda’s allegations against me are baseless, politically-motivated and unscrupulous. Maybe he’s trying to please the BJP by blaming me,” he said. “And Gowda always passes the buck to gain sympathy. These are his old gimmicks.” 

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