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BS Yediyurappa: My statement has been distorted to create confusion in Supreme Court

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on November 04, 2019

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

There is no dissension in the party; I will continue my term

 

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who completed 100 days in office, is in the dock over leaked video in which he is alleged to have said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah oversaw resignations of Karnataka MLAs and monitored their stay in Mumbai. In an interview with the BusinessLine, Yeddyurappa talks about his continuation in office despite all other senior leaders having retired and how the promotion of younger leaders in the party does not affect him. Excerpts:

What do you have to say over the demand for dismissal of Home Minister Amit Shah and the Karnataka government in the wake of video surfacing in which you have allegedly claimed that the party’s top leaders oversaw the resignations of MLAs from rival camps?

It is the height of foolishness to demand dismissal of BJP government in Karnataka and seek resignations over a leaked video, which has no legal validity. I have only said that the disqualified MLAs should not be ill-treated. But my statement has been distorted and twisted by the Congress leaders, particularly Siddaramaiah, who is out to create confusion in the Supreme Court which is hearing the case involving the disqualified MLAs. The people of Karnataka will teach a lesson to him for such a conspiracy in the forthcoming by-elections.

Are you and party’s State-Central leaders are on the same page on this and other issues?

I have a very cordial relationship with Central leaders and the State leaders. We are all co-operating in running the government. There are no differences or discordant voices among us. In fact, our party’s national general secretary-organisation BL Santosh, State president Nalin Kumar Kateel, and myself are working in unison. The reason why I’m not going to Delhi frequently to meet the central leaders is that I am pre-occupied in handling the flood situation.

The party is increasingly choosing young leaders for handling major responsibilities. Under these circumstances, what is your future? Is there a retirement age for Yediyurappa?

It is too early to talk about my retirement. I am going to complete my term as Chief Minister. Once again, let me make it clear that I will work day and night for the party whether I am the CM or not. My resolve is to strengthen the party and to bring it back to power in the next election, too. Here I want to underline that if I take rest, my health will actually deteriorate. Hence, I believe that I should continue to work. I wake up at 6 am and work till 10 pm.

The by-elections, scheduled for December 5, are crucial for your survival and the party’s future in the State. What are the relevant issues that you will focus on — Hindutva or development?

Development will be our main plank. Yes. We have decided not to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti and as far as the issue of removing Tipu Sultan from text books is concerned, we will be handling it in a mature way. On the election front, we are waiting for the apex court verdict. Once it is out, we will finalise candidates to take on the Opposition. I am 100 per cent confident of winning 12-13 seats. Lets talk about it on December 9, when results will be out.

What were the main challenges that your government faced during the last 100 days?

I have camped in flood-hit districts and have been touring them regularly. Timely intervention has prevented hundreds of deaths and have ensured justice to poor people, farmers, petty traders, handloom weavers and farm labourers. Meeting them and solving their problems is really a matter of satisfaction for me.

What are your priorities for rest of the term in office?

This government’s top priority is to improve farmers’ income, focus on irrigation and help them get remunerative prices for their produce.

We are finalising and prioritising other sectors as well such as tourism, housing and industrial development, especially through vendor development for small-scale industries. We are preparing a roadmap to improve infrastructure and develop Bengaluru city as well.

Since you also hold Bengaluru development portfolio, what do you have in mind to improve the city’s crumbling infrastructure?

We need around ₹6,000 crore to develop roads and other infrastructure. Currently, we are examining fund-raising ways to take up these works. Once done you wait and see the changes for yourself in Bengaluru. It may take about five to six months to complete all the proposed work. We are also exploring the option of private sector participation in improving the city’s infrastructure, especially road development. So far, three mettings have been held with experts and the next is scheduled for November 6.

For taking up developmental works, how is the State’s finances? Can the State manage on its own or do you need Centre’s assistance?

On the State’s resource mobilisation front, we are comfortable and we are on target. We’ll get a clear picture in January. As of now, the situation is good, we are managing both flood relief and crop loan waiver by juggling our resources through adjustments. The State should get ₹3,800 crore and so far the Centre has released ₹ 1,200 crore. We are to get another ₹2,000 crore. To take up the relief work, we may have to raise the remaining amount.

Published on November 04, 2019

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