“If I claim to be honest to the core, it would amount to self-deception. People do give us money, we don’t know from where they get it, but we spend it [during electioneering]. Politics has become polluted,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said at the 87th birth anniversary celebrations of the former Chief Minister late Ramakrishna Hegde. Hegde’s Rashtreeya Nava Nirmana Vedike had organised the celebrations.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said if a candidate, who believes in “clean politics”, contests elections and says he does not have money, the voters themselves will ask why he chooses to contest without it. Politics has touched the lowest ebb, with voters also becoming corrupt and caste-conscious, he added.
More dialogues on criminalisation of politics should be held, preferably in public forums, to cleanse the political system, Mr. Siddaramaiah said. Mr. Siddaamaiah recalled that Hegde was a firm believer in decentralisation of power and the present panchayat raj system came into being because of him and late Abdul Nazeer Sab.
SC order debated
Speaking earlier, Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar said the Supreme Court’s verdict on restricting convicted persons from contesting elections should be reviewed. He said the provisions of the Representation of the People Act do not provide for such restriction. However, the former Advocate-General Uday Holla said the Supreme Court was right and no one can allow a criminal to rule the State.
Former Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader M.C. Nanaiah recalled the value-based politics practised by Hegde. Higher Education Minister and one-time associate of Hegde, R.V. Deshpande, said every scheme introduced by Hegde is still relevant today, and they are being enhanced by successive governments.
Hegde’s daughter Mamatha Nichani was present.