Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah asked people not to trust JD(S) and claimed that the regional party can win a maximum of only 20-22 seats in the 224 member legislative Assembly, and cannot come to power.
The Vokkaliga-dominated Mandya district is the bastion of JD(S). Calling the BJP government “communal, corrupt and anti-people”, the former Chief Minister asked people to remove the party from power and give Congress an opportunity to come to power in Karnataka, where Assembly elections are due by May.
“Last time, out of seven seats (in Mandya district), you (voters) did not give us even a single seat. All the seven seats were won by the JD(S), don’t do it this time. Out of seven, make Congress win in at least five or six seats,” Siddaramaih said, while speaking at the Congress Praja Dwani Yatre rally here.
“I’m saying this after understanding the pulse of the people. Congress coming to power is as true as the Sun rising in the east. When we form the government, your share should also be there right? So send at least five to six MLAs, see to it that they are part of it. We will also be with the farmers of Mandya and work for you,” he said.
Out of seven Assembly constituencies in Mandya district, presently, six are represented by the JD(S), and one by BJP.
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Narayanagowda, who had won the 2018 Assembly polls on JD(S) ticket from Krishnarajpet (K R Pet), later defected to the BJP and won the 2019 bypolls on its ticket from the same segment, giving the first-ever win for the saffron party in the district. He is now a minister in the Basavaraj Bommai-led government.
“Please trust and vote for us, don’t trust JD(S) and BJP. The fight here is between Congress and the JD(S),” the Congress legislature party leader said, adding that the regional party will not come to power for any reason.
“They (JDS) repeatedly speak about their target of 123 seats, even when people like me were in that party they could not win so many, 59 JD(S) has won maximum. If JD(S) wins 20-22 seats it is maximum this time, will you give them power, can they come to power?” he asked.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala, state Congress president D K Shivakumar, were among several leaders present.
Pointing out that Congress had made JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy the CM for one year and two months, Siddaramaiah said the former was unable to keep the confidence of MLAs and lost the government as 17 MLAs resigned.
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“Kumaraswamy often blames me for the fall of his coalition government. Leave aside Congress legislators who quit, why did JD(S) legislators resign?” he asked, as he further chided the JD(S) leader for running the administration from a hotel, instead of being amidst people.
“BJP and JD(S) are rattled by our promises to the people and they fear losing in the polls”, Siddaramaiah said as he reiterated the promise that families below the poverty line will get 10 kg of rice (every month) for free.
He also promised Gruha Jyoti scheme, under which all households will get 200 units of free electricity every month, also Gruha Lakshmi scheme, a promise to provide ₹2,000 every month to women-led households on coming to power.
“Will not go back from our promises and we will walk the talk,” he added.
Siddaramaiah also claimed that it was under Congress pressure that the BJP government withdrew its plans to privatise Mandya-based The Mysore Sugars Company Ltd (MySugar), that was started by erstwhile Maharaja of Mysuru.
“I assure that on coming to power we will modernise the sugar factory, keeping it under government control and work for the benefit of the sugarcane farmers of the region,” he said.
KPCC chief D K Shivakumar, recalling his party’s role in making H Deve Gowda the Prime Minister and Kumaraswamy the CM, said, “you have seen what happened despite us giving them the power…”
“I’m asking you as your son, son of the soil, son of Doddalahalli Kempegowda, as Karnataka Congress president, I’m asking you bowing to your feet, give me strength, give an opportunity to serve you,” he said, as he asked for support in winning the majority of assembly seats in Mandya.