KAR­NATAKA: Q&A WITH B.S. YEDIYU­RAPPA

India Today - - STATES -

B.S. Yediyu­rappa, the new Kar­nataka chief min­is­ter, took over to helm a BJP gov­ern­ment on July 26 af­ter the fall of the Congress-Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) coali­tion. With a thin ma­jor­ity to de­fend, a flood cri­sis in the state and thee deputy CMs crowd­ing his turf, his task is by no means easy. The fourth-time chief min­is­ter talks to Group Ed­i­to­rial Direc­tor Raj Chen­gappa about his plans. Ex­cerpts:

Q. With just 105 seats (in a 225 strong house; 17 op­po­si­tion MLAs who crossed over have been dis­qual­i­fied), you are left with a wafer-thin ma­jor­ity. Aren’t you wor­ried about the gov­ern­ment’s sur­vival?

Not at all. The op­po­si­tion Congress-JD(S) coali­tion will not last. I don’t think there will be any prob­lem for us in the re­main­ing 3.5 years of this assem­bly.

Q. Are you await­ing the Supreme Court’s rul­ing on the MLAs’ dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion? Will the turn­coat MPs now join the BJP ?

I have no idea about that. That has been left to their in­di­vid­ual choice.

Q. How are you so con­fi­dent that your gov­ern­ment will not fall? Be­cause the peo­ple are happy about the per­for­mance of my gov­ern­ment. The previous gov­ern­ment was cor­rupt, there was no devel­op­ment at all.

Q. You have had three stints as chief min­is­ter be­fore. What do you want to do dif­fer­ently in your fourth ten­ure?

A cor­rup­tion-free gov­ern­ment is very im­por­tant.

“THE CEN­TRAL LEAD­ER­SHIP TOOK THE DE­CI­SION ON THE DEPUTY CMs TO HELP THE GOV­ERN­MENT— AND ME”

Q. Apart from curb­ing cor­rup­tion, what are your other pri­or­i­ties? Over­all devel­op­ment is key but ir­ri­ga­tion projects are our top pri­or­ity. Next in line is hous­ing projects, im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST and im­prov­ing Ben­galuru apart from al­le­vi­at­ing the suf­fer­ing of over 100,000 farm­ers af­fected by the floods. Af­ter a long time, we have had se­vere floods; 125,000 houses and many roads, bridges have been af­fected. We have lost in­fra­struc­ture worth more than Rs 35,000 crore. A cen­tral team has vis­ited the af­fected ar­eas and we have given our re­port. We are ex­pect­ing good sup­port from the Cen­tre.

Q. You have got three deputy chief min­is­ters and there are rumours that two more will be ap­pointed. Are you happy, with so many deputies look­ing over your shoul­der? There is no prob­lem, these are good peo­ple and they are our sup­port­ers. These lead­ers are also work­ing day and night with me.

Q. Why do you feel the need for so many deputies?

The cen­tral lead­er­ship has taken the de­ci­sion to help the gov­ern­ment, and also me, the chief min­is­ter.

Q. You will soon be ex­pand­ing the cab­i­net too...

We will ex­pand the cab­i­net af­ter a month or so.

HE­MANT MISHRA

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