Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said that senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel brought him to the party after he quit Janata Dal (Secular), headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda. Speaking during a media interaction organised by the Press Club of Bangalore and Bangalore Reporters’ Guild, Siddaramaiah said no Congress leader from Karnataka had offered him a place in the party when he quit JD(S) and started ABP JD, a regional party that failed to perform well in the 2006 panchayat polls.
The interaction was organised to mark four years of the Congress government. “I became close to Ahmed Patel when Dharam Singh was Chief Minister in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. Patel asked me to join Congress and took me to Madam (Sonia Gandhi),” Siddaramaiah said.
“Madam told me that we need to fight against communal elements and asked me to join Congress. I joined the party in Bengaluru in the presence of Sonia Gandhi,” he recalled.
The chief minister said that many people from the Congress are now claiming that they were instrumental in getting him to join the party. Recently, senior Congress leader H Vishwanath had claimed that he brought Siddaramaiah to the party.
Criticising the Narendra Modi-led Union government, Siddaramaiah said that the NDA dispensation had failed to keep promises made before the Lok Sabha election. The Congress leader said: “Modi spoke of achhe din (good days), which have not come until now. He promised that he will create 2 crore jobs every year — that has not happened. He said black money stashed abroad will be brought back and distributed among the people. That too has not happened.”
Siddaramaiah said his party had made 165 assurances before the 2013 Assembly election, and claimed that 155 of them had already been fulfilled. He said the remaining assurances will be fulfilled in the last year of his term.
Siddaramaiah said his party will face the 2018 elections under his leadership. “We will be re-elected in 2018 and the next chief minister will be chosen by the legislators and the high command,” he said.