‘The dis­gruntle­ment of Congress MLAS has been ex­ploited by BJP’

Mint ST - - POLITICS - Anuja [email protected] NEW DELHI

Kar­nataka’s eight-month-old rul­ing al­liance of Congress-janata Dal (Sec­u­lar), or JD(S), has hit rough­weather.sev­er­al­ab­sen­tee Congress leg­is­la­tors have de­fied the party whip, the party has had to threaten ac­tion against them, and chief min­is­ter H.D. Ku­maraswamy has threat­ened to quit in Jan­uary over ‘out of turn’ state­ments. In an in­ter­view, Kar­nataka Congress pres­i­dent Di­nesh Gundu Rao, 49, one of the youngest to hold the post, spoke about the on­go­ing con­tro­versy. Rao main­tained that all was well with the al­liance, but ac­cused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “ex­ploit­ing the dis­gruntle­ment” of Congress leg­is­la­tors. Edited ex­cerpts:

Kar­nataka is one of the big­gest states which has an op­po­si­tion al­liance. How crit­i­cal is the suc­cess of this al­liance, es­pe­cially for 2019?

It is very im­por­tant be­cause the Congress has formed this al­liance to show that it is ready to work with other po­lit­i­cal par­ties and we are ready to sac­ri­fice also. Even though we were the big­ger party, we aligned with the smaller party and gave them the chief min­is­te­rial post.

This is to tell peo­ple that we are will­ing to go the ex­tra mile to see that the al­liance is work­ing. To­day, what­ever may be the im­pres­sion that is be­ing cre­ated, at many lev­els, this al­liance is work­ing very well. We are go­ing to fight elec­tions to­gether only and I am con­fi­dent we will do very well in

Lok Sabha.

What is the rea­son be­hind the present cri­sis? What are the de­mands of these MLAS?

Some of them want to be min­is­ters, so they are be­ing lured into this. On some of them, a lot of pres­sure may be put by the use of (in­ves­tiga­tive) agen­cies...or us­ing in­duce­ments like min­is­te­rial berths. (The au­dio) said clearly that they will man­age Gover­nor, judges etc. I have never seen any po­lit­i­cal party go to this ex­tent to desta­bi­lize or dis­re­spect peo­ple’s man­date. BJP’S at­ti­tude and money power is the main rea­son be­hind this cri­sis.

But Congress is in power in other states as well. Why, ac­cord­ing to you, BJP is try­ing to do this only in Kar­nataka?

Be­cause, they are des­per­ate. It is a pol­icy they have adopted at the na­tional level to see that this gov­ern­ment breaks be­cause they want to show that Congress can­not do the chief min­is­ter had threat­ened to quit...

In to­day’s me­dia fren­zied world, one state­ment can get hyped up ten times over. A per­son would have said in a dif­fer­ent con­text but by the time it comes out, it car­ries a dif­fer­ent mean­ing al­to­gether. We have told and warned our lead­ers that strict ac­tion will be taken if they don’t de­sist from it.

Do you think the mes­sag­ing is prob­lem­atic that the top lead­er­ship is not able to rein in erring lead­ers?

I think now, more or less things have got sorted out. Af­ter this ses­sion is over, we will go ahead with seat-shar­ing talks and go ahead with cam­paign­ing.

Do you think am­bi­tion of some of the se­nior lead­ers in the party is a hin­drance in the prospects of the al­liance?

CON­VER­SA­TION

PRADEEP GAUR/MINT

PTI

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