None can destabilise my govt: CM

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Bangalore: An admirer and Congress party worker from Varuna had come all the way from her hometown to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday evening at his government bungalow in Bangalore.

She presented him a laadu from Tirupati as prasada, and kumkum, besides a huge portrait of him. Of course, she wanted some favour from him. But she did not discuss it in the presence of others.

Siddaramaiah, who was in a pleasant mood, did not mind listening to her. She was one among a stream of visitors, including the Congress women’s wing president Manjula Naidu and retired IAS office K Jairaj, who were trying to grab his attention to their requests.

The chief minister, who will complete one year in office on May 12, does not give an impression that he is a man in hurry. Reason: He is confident that none can destablise him or his government for the rest of his tenure. He likens his government to a ‘monolith’, which can’t be disturbed by anyone, including his Cabinet colleagues, or even the JD (S).

He has no plans to organise any event to celebrate one year in office even if his party wins 19 to 20 Lok Sabha seats as predicted by him. He says he is ‘strong now’ and will continue to be so even after the results are announced. He also has no plans to announce new programmes except implementing the promises already made in the election manifesto and the budgets. Nonetheless, the government will release a booklet documenting its promises and achievements on May 19, he says.

In an interaction with Vijesh Kamath and Asha Krishnaswamy of Deccan Herald, Siddaramaiah had this to say:

How has been the year in office?

We have given good administration and successfully completed a year. We have worked for the common man. Our programmes, be it Anna Bhagya, free milk for students, interest-free loans for farmers, have been well appreciated. I received good feedback from people during my election tours across the State.

So far your focus has been on social sector. Will there be a shift to other crucial issues like industrial development and employment generation?

Employment generation is a continuous process and we are paying attention. We cleared 22 industrial projects. We are coming out with a new industrial policy and will hold a global investors’ meet next January. The focus on providing social justice, agriculture, housing and welfare programmes for the poor, will, however, continue.

You announced a slew of programmes from day one in office. But there is a feeling that the speed of progress has slackened?

We are committed to implementing all programmes announced in the manifesto. Of the 165 promises, 92 have been fulfilled. The rest will be given effect to in the next two to three years. The pace is continuing.

Will you be seeking progress reports from your ministerial colleagues? Are you expected to place them before the co-ordination committee of the party?

No. All ministers are doing good work. We have worked very well as a team. There has been good cooperation from them. However, there is scope to do more. This applies to me as well.

Is a Cabinet reshuffle on?

There may be minor changes. I feel changing portfolios of ministers will be detrimental. They should be given sufficient time to ensure progress and development in their departments.

There seems to be resentment among Congress workers that power is too centralised?

If there was resentment, our party cadre would not have worked during the Lok Sabha polls. All workers and leaders have worked with enthusiasm and unitedly. Of course, some are waiting to be appointed to boards and corporations. We will take up the exercise after the Lok Sabha poll results.

Having reached the pinnacle of your political career, what next? What dreams you have for yourself?

I have no further ambition or dreams. As chief minister, I will work for the people to the best of my ability. I am not avaricious. I wanted to serve the state as the chief minister. The opportunity has been mine.

There is speculation in political circles that JD(S) trying to destabilise the government using your own party colleagues?

It will be a futile exercise, even if someone tries to do so. The Congress has survived for this long because we are all loyal to the party. It is not individuals but the party which matters. Efforts to dethrone me will be a failure.

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