Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister, on Monday hit out at the BJP for allegedly distorting his statements on certain Dalit leaders joining the BJP with the intention of maligning him.
Speaking after inaugurating the Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple and Guest House constructed in Kanaka Bhavan premises in Mandya, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he had pointed out that certain Dalit leaders like Ramesh Jigajinagi, Govind Karjol and Narayanaswamy had joined the BJP for ‘selfish reasons’ as the saffron party through its leaders like Ananthkumar Hegde had proclaimed that the party had come to power to change the Constitution given by B.R. Ambedkar.
But, the BJP leaders allegedly twisted his statement on the Dalit leaders joining the saffron party with the intention to malign him.
Referring to the protests organised by the BJP against him, where his effigy was set on fire, Mr. Siddaramaiah said neither he nor the people, who followed him, will be affected by such protests.
Cautioning the people against BJP, he said the saffron partymen were the most ‘casteist’ people, yet they falsely accused him of being casteist, and sought to remind the gathering that it was he who had begun organising the Jayanti programmes of Kempe Gowda, Kittur Rani Chennamma, Tipu, Bhageeratha, Krishna, etc. He said the BJP was targeting him out of ‘jealousy’ as he was the only Chief Minister after D. Devaraj Urs to complete a full term of 5 years.
Referring to the questions raised by certain people on his contribution to the Kuruba community to which he belonged, Mr. Siddaramaiah said there were poor and underprivileged people in all castes and sections of the society. “Did I become the Chief Minister to serve only one caste? All poor people in the society should be given justice,” he said, while adding that the welfare programmes implemented during his tenure at the helm had helped the poor people from all castes and communities. “I have worked for the welfare of people, who had been denied of opportunities in the society,” he said.
The former Chief Minister accused the BJP of practising ‘anti-backward classes’ policies while claiming that the Congress provided political reservation to backward classes in 1994 after which several leaders from the backward classes were winning elections to local bodies in the categories reserved for them. He said the BJP had moved the court against the political reservation extended by the Congress to the backward classes, but the Supreme Court upheld the reservation.
He claimed that the political situation in the State was conducive for the Congress to return to power and called upon the people to bring the party back to power so that pro-poor programmes are implemented in the State.