In the run-up to the May 5 Assembly election,Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily Friday highlighted his contribution to Karnataka but ruled himself out as a contender for the chief ministers post.
The Congress will provide whatever support is needed to the state unit. I have a role to play in this. That role does not involve becoming chief minister. I am not a candidate, Moily said at the first press conference by a senior Congress leader in the lead up to the poll campaign.
The Congress,Moily claimed,does not usually name chief ministerial candidates ahead of elections. We projected Amarinder Singh in Punjab and it was a mistake, he added.
The Congress has a problem of plenty and this is both a liability and an advantage. We have a reservoir of talented leadership to choose from, Moily said.
But if the Congress comes to power,would the chief minister be elected in a democratic manner or imposed by the leadership? The former Karnataka chief minister answered this question by recalling his own election on a consultative basis as CM in 1992. S B Chavan came to Bangalore and met MLAs and took their opinion when I was selected as chief minister, he said.
The question of chief minister settled,Moily went about listing his contribution to Karnataka as former chief minister and as Union minister the Vijaynagar steel plant,International Technology Park,Mangalore Refineries,Common Entrance Test for medical and engineering colleges,cargo complex at the international airport,natural gas connectivity and Almatti Dam on the Krishna river.
That is not all. The bill to grant special development status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region originated in the Law Ministry when he headed it,Moily said. And before all this,he claimed,he had laid the foundation of the IT industry in Bangalore as the states Small Scale Industries Minister between 1974 and 1977.
In more recent times,the UPA government has drafted several developmental programmes but Karnataka has failed to capitalise on them in the last five years because of the breakdown of governance under the BJP,Moily claimed,and then prophesied,The BJP wont come back to power.
The Congress,Moily declared,would press its claim as the sole protector of Karnatakas interests in the Cauvery and Krishna river water sharing rows notwithstanding the claims by former prime minister H D Deve Gowdas JD(S).
The Cauvery Tribunals final award was notified because the BJP governments lawyers in the Supreme Court approved it and they later played politics on the issue. On both the Cauvery and Krishna issues we have done more than any other party for Karnataka. I know this better than anyone else. We built the gates at Almatti Dam but it was Deve Gowda who broke it, Moily said.