IN AN apparent reference to the problems of running a coalition government, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he was “not happy” and was swallowing the pain “like Vishakantha”.
Striking an emotional note at a gathering of party workers on Saturday, a teary-eyed Kumaraswamy said: “All of you are happy because your elder or younger brother has become the chief minister. But I am not happy. I am swallowing my own pain like poison, like Vishakantha (Lord Shiva, who drank poison to save the world).’’
Wiping his tears with a towel, he said: “What I sought from the people was not to be made chief minister, but to be in a position to solve the problems of the people of the state, to complete the unfinished agenda of my father, to solve the problems of farmers, workers and labourers of the state, without caste and religion barriers… The people of the state have not taken me into their confidence to deliver on my dreams.’’
The JD(S) won 37 of the 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly, while its coalition partner, the Congress, won 80 seats. While the two parties fought against each other, they joined hands to form the government as the election threw up a hung verdict.
The JD(S) is now attempting to widen its base in the state, especially in the northern parts where it is almost non-existent, on the back of Kumaraswamy’s announcement of a Rs 45,000 crore farm loan waiver. In fact, both the Congress and JD(S) are making separate bids to cement their political base in the state, which has led to differences of opinion.
#WATCH: Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy breaks down at an event in Bengaluru; says ‘You are standing with bouquets to wish me, as one of your brother became CM & you all are happy, but I’m not. I know the pain of coalition govt. I became Vishkanth&swallowed pain of this govt’ (14.07) pic.twitter.com/cQ8f90KkFT
— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2018
Before presenting his budget earlier this month, Kumaraswamy was under pressure from the Congress to preserve programmes announced by former chief minister Siddaramaiah and give less importance to the JD(S)’s promises.
While Kumaraswamy was able to fulfil his big poll promise of a farm loan waiver, despite some resistance from the Congress, he was forced to scale back on other big ticket promises like a monthly pension of Rs 6,000 for the elderly and an allowance of Rs 6,000 for pregnant women.
Reacting to Kumaraswamy’s statement, the Congress said he should be happy to be the chief minister. “A chief minister has to be happy always. Only if he is happy can we all be happy,’’ said Congress Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
The BJP called it “amazing acting’’. “Our country has produced talented actors who have mesmerised the audience with their brilliant performance. Here, we have another legendary actor, Mr Kumaraswamy, an actor who has constantly fooled the common man with his amazing acting skills,’’ the state BJP tweeted.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy’s father H D Deve Gowda addressed a party rally in Hubbali, in North Karnataka, on Sunday. “Kumaraswamy has waived off farm loans and is working day and night for the welfare of the people of the state. He does not have the time to build the party because he is the chief minister. I am travelling around the state to build the strength of the party,’’ said the former prime minister.
“The preservation of my party is my top priority. We did not win any seat in several regions of the state in the elections, and this has hurt me a lot,’’ he said.