BJP MLC would be happy to see Siddaramaiah as Prime Minister

A.H. Vishwanath says Congress leader should have taken up offer to enter national politics

Former Minister and BJP MLC A.H. Vishwanath, who had fallen out with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, would support the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader’s ascent to the post of Prime Minister.

Referring to Mr. Siddaramaiah’s reluctance to move to national politics, Mr. Vishwanath told reporters in Mysuru that it would be a matter of pride for him if a fellow Kannadiga becomes the country’s Prime Minister. He recalled how elated he was when JD(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister in 1996.

When Congress leader Sonia Gandhi invited him to New Delhi and asked him to shift to national politics, Mr. Siddaramaiah should have seized the opportunity and put a condition that he would move to New Delhi if he were to be made the Prime Minister, he said. He referred to the ‘courage’ shown by Mr. Gowda, who took up the challenge and accepted the post of Prime Minister.

Mr. Vishwanath claimed that Ms. Gandhi had invited Mr. Siddaramaiah, a backward class leader, to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from the backward classes.

When asked for the reason behind Mr. Siddaramaiah’s refusal to shift to national politics, .Mr Vishwanath said he suspects that language could be one of the reasons. “But, he speaks English well. He was a lawyer and a lecturer,” Mr. Vishwanath said.

He found fault with former Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy for attributing political motives to the income tax raid on a aide of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

He recalled the attack by the duo against the alleged corruption during Mr. Yediyurappa’s regime. The income tax raids on Mr. Yediyurappa’s aide and contractors of the Irrigation Department had inspired confidence among the general public that Central agencies were acting against corruption.

Referring to their criticism, he asked if Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Kumaraswamy were in favour of corruption. “Why are they complainaing when Mr. Yediyurappa had welcomed the raids,” Mr. Vishwanath said.

He accused the Congress and JD(S) leaders of ‘faking’ concern for Mr. Yediyurappa with an eye on the votes of the Lingayat-Veerashaiva community. “Who are you trying to impress? If you are thinking it will bring Veerashaivas to the Congress or the JD(S), you are being foolish. The community is very intelligent,” he said.

Mr. Vishwanath claimed to have spoken out against corruption in the Irrigation Department before Mr. Yediyurappa resigned as Chief Minister in July this year. “I had raised the issue with regard to the hurried finalisation of tenders worth more than ₹23,000 crore in the Irrigation Department on July 22, four days before Mr. Yediyurappa resigned on July 26,” he said. He had written letters to senior BJP leaders in New Delhi on this issue.

The BJP MLC alleged that tenders in the Irrigation Department were finalised at a meeting attended by not only senior officials, but also a few MPs.

Mr. Vishwanath trained his guns on Mr. Siddaramaiah for ‘finishing’ the Lokayukta by disempowering it from investigating matters relating to corruption. He accused the former Chief Minister of diluted the powers of Lokayukta to save himself from prosecution in the Arkavathi Layout scam.

The BJP MLC urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to revive the Lokayukta.

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