Karnataka CM K Siddaramaiah talks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta. (IE Photo: Jyothy Karat)
Karnataka CM K Siddaramaiah talks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta about his differences with the Gowdas, his switch from the JD(S) to the Congress, and why that’s not in variance with his socialist past. Excerpts from NDTV 24X7’s Walk the Talk.
You are perhaps the only person who’s given the Congress some reasons to smile. Not once, but twice in recent times.
With the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, in Karnataka, the Congress won with a comfortable majority.
With some help from the BJP.
Of course, that was also there because there was division in the BJP. It helped to a certain extent. The misrule of the BJP government, their corruption… the people of Karnataka were fed up with the non-performance of the government. That is why they voted for the Congress this time.
And then you had your double bonus, you defeated the Gowdas in two parliamentary bypolls (in Bangalore-Rural and Mandya).
Those two constituencies are supposed to be the stronghold of (H D) Deve Gowda. He was under the impression nobody could defeat him… Those two constituencies were very important for us. And we won both by a comfortable majority.
So what is this special ‘love’, ‘affection’ for Deve Gowda? And Kumaraswamy?
We were together for so many years Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy and I were in the Janata Dal. Then they suspended me from the party and expelled me. That’s why I had to join the Congress.
What caused the fight? Because you were very close to them.
The main reason for expelling me was that I started organising Ahinda, that is backward classes, minorities, Scheduled Castes, in Karnataka. They could not tolerate it, they told me not to organise Ahinda rally. But I told them no, these are vulnerable sections of society, I have to go with them.