Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that the elections to the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State cannot be considered a referendum to “my government… I am confident that the government will last a full term”.
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who spoke at length to The Hindu here on Monday, said, “It is improper to state that there is a Narendra Modi wave across the country, including Karnataka. I would like to say that there is no such save, and definitely not in Karnataka. The Congress will get 18-20 seats, as people have responded and reciprocated well to the government. We have been successful in winning two Lok Sabha by-elections (Mandya and Bangalore Rural), and this trend will continue in the general elections.” He said that the reference to the Narendra Modi wave was only in the media. “My assessment is that the National Democratic Alliance will not be successful in forming a government at the Centre,” he said and added that the chances of a “fractured mandate” were high.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said that pre-poll surveys also did not reflect the reality on the ground as they were not based on facts. The mere return of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to or the merger of the BSR Congress of the former Minister B. Sriramulu with the BJP did not mean that the saffron party would emerge stronger.
The Chief Minister said that the people voted against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the last Assembly elections (nine months ago) and this trend will continue in the State. “Right from the day I took charge, I have focussed attention on the welfare of the people,” he said.
He said that “if the Congress high command wishes, I am ready to take up election campaign in other States too. It is for the party leadership to decide. In Karnataka, I am confident that the people will vote in favour of the Congress, although we are aware of the anti-incumbency factor against the United Progressive Alliance government at the national level. It should be noted that the Congress enjoys an edge as it can bring together a number of political parties together.” Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the Congress is not a divided house in the State as was being said. “This is an old party and it has many leaders. Congressmen expressing their views in public bespoke internal democracy,” he said.