Horatti also stressed the need for inducting him into the Cabinet to strengthen the JD(S) in the region where the party is weak.
Hubballi: Former minister and senior JD(S) MLC Basavaraj Horatti, who was denied a Cabinet berth, on Sunday claimed there was interference by Congress leaders in the functioning of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government at every stage and urged former chief minister Siddaramaiah to serve only as a ‘guide’ and give CM H.D. Kumaraswamy a free hand to provide good administration.
Speaking to this newspaper, he said that Congress leaders are fighting with JD(S) over all issues, including ministerial berths, portfolios, appointments to the boards and corporations and on the presentation of the state Budget despite promising to give unconditional support before formation of the coalition government. Terming the Congress move as ‘humiliation of the chief minister,’ he said that its party leaders have adopted double standard in providing freedom to the CM.
“Siddaramaiah had rushed to the JD(S) and agreed to provide unconditional support fearing that the BJP would succeed in making India ‘Congress-mukt’. The Congress leaders have managed to keep the BJP away from power with the help of our party. Now, they have changed their stance after fulfilling their wish and are posing hurdles in governance. Siddaramaiah is a senior politician, he should only guide us as he has already served as CM for the full five-year term”, Horatti said. Reiterating that he was not considered for the ministerial berth owing to his involvement in the agitation for independent Lingayat religion status, he said that the people of North Karnataka may raise the demand for separate statehood if proper representation is not given to the region in the Cabinet. He said that the region cannot witness development if adequate ministerial berths are not provided.
Mr Horatti also stressed the need for inducting him into the Cabinet to strengthen the JD(S) in the region where the party is weak. He said he deserved a ministerial berth as he has been an MLC for a record 38 years.
“There is a feeling among the people that I am eligible to become CM too,” he added.
Hence, they are angry that I have not been made even a minister. I am the seniormost leader in Karnataka politics and I have the right to seek a ministerial berth as no legislator of the JD(S) was elected from North Karnataka. I have also seen 16 CMs and 12 Speakers in my political career. Moreover, Hubballi-Dharwad is the second biggest city after Bengaluru and there must be a representation for the twin cities in the Cabinet”, he added.
Responding to the reports of the JD(S) likely to choose him for the Legislative Council chairman’s post, he said that he preferred a ministerial berth as it will help him work actively for the welfare of the people. However, he said that he will abide by the decision of party supremo Deve Gowda and CM Kumaraswamy. “I cannot provide justice to the common man if I become Council chairman though it is an honourable position. Therefore, I have sought the higher education portfolio if inducted into the Cabinet as I am representing the teachers’ constituency for a 7th term”, he said.
Stating that no one can question his loyalty to the JD(S), he said that he did not desert the party though Congress and BJP leaders had approached him by offering him a ministerial berth in 2008 and 2013. “I will not go begging before anyone requesting them to induct me into the Cabinet. I never had the desire to make money or assets from politics. I will perform my duty honestly when the opportunity comes on its own”, he added.