It’s all a drama to field HDK from Mandya, says N Chaluvaraya Swamy

K'taka agriculture minister opened up about happenings in Mandya in Udayavani exclusive interview

Team Udayavani, Jan 31, 2024, 11:55 AM IST

Karnataka Agriculture Minister N Chaluvaraya Swamy opened up about happenings in Mandya, once a stronghold of farmers’ agitation, the issue of Kumaraswamy wearing a saffron shawl as well as the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in an exclusive interview with Udayavani.

“If we hear the national anthem while walking on the road, we all stand and respect it. It is a civic sense. But what is the meaning of former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s insistence that a different flag should be hoisted at the place where the national flag was hoisted? Is the purpose of his struggle to tear down the national flag and hoist a different flag?… In Keragodu, JDS and BJP have joined hands and insulted the national flag,” said  N Chaluvaraya Swamy.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

-Mandya was earlier a stronghold of Raitha Sangha. Today this district looks to be saffronised. Keragodu is tense. What do you say about this?

“Hundred percent, this is a clear instigation. The local youth decided to hoist the national flag and got permission. But because of BJP and JDS, it has grown so out of proportion. When the incident came to light, I spoke to the local youth over the phone and they all agreed to solve the issue amicably. But who has riled the youth who were quiet? After hoisting the national flag, maintaining peace is our Dharma. But what is the point of insisting that a different flag should be hoisted? Should the national flag be pulled down? Is this possible according to the constitution?”

-Didn’t Kumaraswamy & CT Ravi appear in Mandya wearing a saffron shawl?

“Let them wear it. But what message are they giving to society? Do those who are raking a controversy where the national flag is flying, have any respect for democracy? I don’t know if Deve Gowda advised Kumaraswamy on this matter or not. We don’t fear such targeting. Kumaraswamy may have done this because of his worries that he is “zero” in the state. But, we don’t create play with such emotional issues.”

Why is Kumaraswamy doing this fight? Is it for the Lok Sabha elections?

“Is there any other doubt in that? There are no candidates for JDS in Mandya. But the BJP national leaders are thinking that Mandya is the stronghold of JDS and they are planning to give up the constituency to Kumaraswamy. The story of JDS is different here. The former MLAs here can’t see eye to eye. Puttaraju, Annadani, Suresh Gowda, Ravindra Srikanthaiah – There is no harmony between these former MLAs. That is why Kumaraswamy and Nikhil Kumaraswamy are being favoured. Is it possible for him to come quietly? They are creating all this drama just for that purpose.”

-So, according to you, is there no benefit to JDS from such struggle or as you termed it ‘instigations’?

“Of course not. Kumaraswamy is delusional. That’s how Kumaraswamy is desperately hanging onto the Keragodu case for his political survival and gain. There is no way he will succeed.”

Does it mean that your analysis suggests the people of Mandya will not support Kumaraswamy in the Lok Sabha elections?

“On the Mandya issue, Kumaraswamy is upbeat as well as fearful. The people of this district have contributed a lot to Kumaraswamy. But what has Kumaraswamy given to Mandya in return?… When Kumaraswamy first became the Chief Minister, people admired his simplicity. Even though he betrayed Yediyurappa by not handing over power, their respect for him did not decrease.

In 2018, he (Kumaraswamy) won 37 seats in Old Mysore by playing caste-based politics against Siddaramaiah. But when he joined the Congress for 14 months as CM, he destroyed his name with his self-inflicted wrongdoings. Although 8 MLAs won for him from this district, he did nothing in return. Thus, his son was defeated in the Lok Sabha elections. The same worry is still haunting Kumaraswamy.”

Last time you all supported Sumalata Ambareesh to defeat Nikhil. What about this time?

“Yes. Last time she contested as an independent and we were not in a position to support Kumaraswamy. But since then she has identified herself with the BJP. In the last state Assembly election, she openly worked in favor of the BJP. So we cannot support her this time.”

So will you call Sumalata to the Congress?

“No. No such attempts have been made. No one from the Congress side has contacted her. Sumalatha has not contacted us either. Personal friendships and trust are different. She herself has said that she will contest from the BJP. She has held a meeting with local BJP leaders.”

You have said that another “Nati” candidate will contest from Mandya. What does that mean?

“I have used that word in the sense that only locals will compete. There is no special meaning to it. Three names are under consideration.”

Will Ramya enter the fray as a surprise candidate?

“No, there is no such development. The High Command will field a suitable and capable person. I can only say that they will be local.”

Aren’t there speculations that your wife is being fielded as a Congress candidate? Have any such talks taken place?

“No, no, no. That question does not arise. No one from our family will contest the Lok Sabha elections. High Command will soon select a suitable candidate.”


Translated from the interview in Kannada by Raghavendra Bhat, Udayavani

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