‘Absolutely no anti-incumbency’ in Karnataka, Congress will retain power: Chief minister Siddaramaiah
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said he was confident the Congress would be able to counter the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi because the people would “compare the achievements of the state government with those of the Centre”.
There is “absolutely no anti-incumbency” in Karnataka, chief minister Siddaramaiah said in an interview to Hindustan Times, stressing that he would retain power in this year’s assembly elections because his government had “fulfilled all its promises” and because there were “no corruption charges” against it.
The chief minister said he was confident the party would be able to counter the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi because the people would “compare the achievements of the state government with those of the Centre”.
“Karnataka is a different state. Voters are mature here. They know what decisions to take… The people of Karnataka are happy with us. There is absolutely no anti-incumbency,” Siddaramaiah said.
In a wide-ranging interview, the chief minister defended invoking Kannada pride by asking for a separate flag for the state, making Kannada compulsory in schools, and removing Hindi signs from metro stations. “It doesn’t mean that we hate Hindi or English... But Kannada should have the pride of place in Karnataka. It is the paramount language... I am a Kannadiga. It’s my commitment,” he said.
Asked if the BJP announcing that it will not have any pre-poll alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) will affect the Congress game plan, Siddaramaiah said that his party, too, would not be part of any pre-poll arrangement. “We will not have any alliance with the JD(S) because it’s not committed to secularism,” he said, adding that the BJP would be the main opposition in the polls that are due in April or May.
He also called for Modi to intervene for an out-of-court settlement of the Mahadayi river water dispute with Goa and Maharashtra — a political hot potato in the poll-bound state.
Citing how former prime minister Indira Gandhi had convened a meeting of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka to give drinking water to Chennai in the Telugu Ganga project in 1976, the Karnataka chief minister asked: “Why doesn’t Modiji make an honest effort to solve this problem?”