A day after Karnataka delivered a fractured verdict, it was a combative JD(S) chief and Chief Minister hopeful HD Kumaraswamy, who addressed the media on Wednesday. Accusing the BJP of horsetrading and luring its MLAs, Kumaraswamy alleged, “The BJP has offered people in our party Rs 100 crore and ministerial positions.”
Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, Kumaraswamy said, “The people of Karnataka must understand that the BJP which is known for horsetrading isn’t going to act in their favour. Some of them have approached leaders in our party and offered them Rs 100 crore. I don’t know whether this white or black money.” He went on to add, “The Prime Minister promised to eradicate black money from country. Where is he going to get Rs 100 crore to give MLAs?”
With the Congress supporting HD Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister, the two parties had on Tuesday met with Governor Vajubhai Vala staking claim to form the government. Speaking of the meeting with the Governor, Kumaraswamy said, “We have brought to the Governor’s attention what BJP did in Goa and Manipur, where Congress was single largest party and yet the Governor in those states allowed the BJP to form the government. When they are 9 numbers short (in Karnataka), what right do they have to form the government?”
Pointing to the post-poll scenarios in Goa, and Manipur, Kumaraswamy hit out at the BJP, stating “In this 80-year history of the country, no party has misused constitutional positions like the BJP. I am asking Amit Shah and the Central govt are you promoting horsetrading or the destruction of the constitutional structure of this country?”
Clearing the air that the JD(S), which may end up king despite winning only 38 seats, is not out for power, said, “If anyone has a feeling that we are out to get power, it is not true. BJP is in a hurry to get power in Karnataka. I am in the unfortunate situation to become CM again because people of Karnataka have voted this way.”
Kumaraswamy went on to note that the BJP ended up emerging the single largest party on account of division of secular votes and because of misdirecting the people, the JD(S) chief said, “I am pained by the fact that I am going to be a Chief Minister who does not have the vote of 5 crore people of the state. I am saying this because I want to tell the people of our country our party is not desperate behind power.”
He also went on to ‘set the record straight’ over his alliance with the BJP in 2006. He said, “Yes, it is true that I had an alliance with the BJP to protect my party. Several things happened when the two parties were in alliance back then. I want to tell the BJP leaders this. Back then people said, both Deve Gowda and I played drama to attain power.”
Kumaraswamy also admitted that his decision to go with the BJP in 2006, despite Deve Gowda’s opposition, had put a blackmark on his father. “People have kept a black spot in my father’s career by saying that the person who speaks about secularism made his son go to the BJP. I had offers from both sides but I believe that perhaps there is a black mark on my father's career because of me,” said Kumaraswamy.
Reiterating the JD(S)’s secular credentials, Kumaraswamy went on to say, “There is a belief that there is a threat to the secular identity of the country. I don’t believe in that personally because I know what people who say they are secular actually do. I am taking this decision because many regional leaders have called me saying what is more important than power is to contain the rift that is happening in this country.”
He also put to rest speculation that despite many JD(S) leaders being contacted by the BJP, his party would go with the Congress. “The question is about the caste and communal politics that has happened in the country. I want you all to consider what all is happening in this country. We need to course correct this nation,” said Kumaraswamy.