'Will get a comfortable majority in Karnataka'
Under a fierce attack from the Prime Minister and the BJP, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah says he doesn't believe in politics of "personal attacks" and opined that his main agenda is development and good governance in the state.
In an exclusive interview with Simontini Bhattacharjee, the Karnataka Chief Minister seems confident about coming back to power with a clear mandate.
What is your expectation out of this Assembly election in Karnataka?
This Assembly election will be comfortable for us. We will get a clear majority. We will come back to the power with a clear mandate by the people of Karnataka.
You are contesting from two constituencies Badami and Chamundeswari. Which one will be challenging for you?
Elections are always challenging for me, whether it is Chamundeswari or Badami. But I believe in both the constituencies we will win by a comfortable margin.
The opposition parties have claimed that your decision to contest from Chamundeswari was to promote your younger son?
My son is contesting the election from Varuna...it's my personal decision to contest from Chamundeswari instead of Varuna. But initially, I decided to not to contest in this election. Because Chikka Sahebru passed away and my younger son took care of the constituency after that for a long time, that's why he is contesting from Varuna. Chamundeswari is my old constituency and I won five times from this constituency.
Your key opponent BJP has claimed that Congress cannot win alone, how will you react to that?
There is a clear difference between the work of BJP government and achievements of the Karnataka government. That's why they are resorting to personal attacks.
The BJP has also claimed that there is a tacit understanding between Congress and JD (S), how do you address that?
It is just the reverse. There is a tacit understanding between the JD (S) and BJP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls your government 'corrupt' or accuses you of playing the caste card. How do you respond to these charges?
See, I can also attack Mr. Narendra Modi. But I don't want to get into such politics. I don't believe in personal attacks, whether it is BJP or anybody. I only address issues for our betterment and to serve people in a better way through developmental works. My only agenda is to develop the state. I believe in gaining votes on basis of my work, on the basis of developmental work, not on 'false' allegations, personal attacks or irresponsible statements.
It seems that BJP has repeated and renamed few of your schemes in their election manifesto and the party president Amit Shah claimed that 'the existing schemes have been evaluated after identifying loop-holes'?
When I introduced 'Anna Bhagya Scheme', these people opposed. They claimed that Sidharamaiah is making the poor lazy by giving them rice free of cost. Now, the same people have copied my schemes and I do not believe that there are any loopholes. Amit Shah doesn't know anything about these programmes. Nowhere in the country, has such a scheme been introduced.
Will the Karnataka verdict have a bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections?
The victory of Congress party in Karnataka will be stepping stone for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.