Surprised and saddened by Deve Gowda’s statement: Siddaramaiah


PTI, Apr 16, 2024, 8:46 AM IST

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said he was both surprised and saddened by JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda’s statement that a Chief Minister representing six crore people should not question a Prime Minister who represents a hundred crore people.

He was referring to a reported statement by Gowda, a former Prime Minister, at a NDA rally in Mysuru on Sunday, when he shared the stage with PM Narendra Modi.

”Respected H D Deve Gowda, I am both surprised and saddened by your statement that a Chief Minister representing six crore people should not question a Prime Minister who represents a hundred crore people,” Siddaramaiah said in a statement.

He said, ”You have led a regional party for many years and have been a consistent critic of the Union Government and the Prime Ministers. Why, then, do you choose to adopt such a submissive stance at this stage in your life?” Pointing out to Gowda that we are part of a federal democracy where the Prime Minister is not an autocrat, nor is a Chief Minister a mere subordinate, the CM said both hold positions of equal stature, irrespective of their age.

”Age does not dictate the relevance of their roles. Even when Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister at a young age, there were older Chief Ministers who engaged with him in mutual critique and dialogue. Until now, no one else has raised questions in the impudent and impertinent manner that you have,” he said.

Noting that in the discussions that lasted till midnight in the Lok Sabha about the 2002 Gujarat violence, there may be records of the criticism Gowda levelled against then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Siddaramaiah said, ”I still don’t consider them wrong as these are part of the proceedings of a parliamentary democracy. At that time, you were not the Chief Minister, but just a representative of a Lok Sabha constituency. Did the difference between representing a hundred crore and six crore people not concern you then?” ”Mr Deve Gowda, it’s worth noting that just a few months ago, your son, H D Kumaraswamy – who is at least 10 years younger to Narendra Modi and was merely an MLA at the time – used harsh language to criticise PM Modi. This has not been forgotten by the people of our state, and likely not by you either,” he said.

”Why did you not advise your son against criticising the Prime Minister, who represents a 100 crore people? The people of our state are well aware that these actions were motivated by convenience,” he added.

Suggesting that it is everyone’s right to oppose and question the Union Government and the Prime Minister when the state government is treated unfairly, the CM said, ”I presume you recall the language Narendra Modi used against then PM Manmohan Singh, who is one of the most dignified and respected political leaders our country has seen, when the former was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.” When Gowda was Prime Minister, Kannadigas swelled with pride, Siddaramaiah said, they praised him whenever he confronted the Union Government to protect the state’s land, water, and language against the Prime Ministers of those times.

”Particularly in the current instance where the Prime Minister seems to act vindictively against southern states, including Karnataka, simply because these states did not support his party, you were expected to lead our resistance. Unfortunately, you are now compromising Karnataka’s interests for the survival of your party and family politics, by aligning with the Prime Minister and opposing our cause,” he said.

”Deve Gowda, it is not too late to amend your ways and speak out against the injustices inflicted on Kannadigas by the Union Government,” the CM said and added that the Narendra Modi administration is undermining Kannadigas through its policies on tax distribution, drought relief, and Centrally-sponsored schemes.

”Your silence on these issues might temporarily benefit your party, but history will certainly not forgive you,” he added.

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