JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy tells Kunal Majumder that all ministers in the Karnataka Cabinet are only after money
In the past few months, many cases of alleged corruption have surfaced against Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa. Yet, nothing seems to bother him or the BJP. Have you failed as an Opposition to pressurise the government?
As the main Opposition party, we have always exposed the illegalities of Yeddyurappa and his office, even the brazen collection of crores of rupees through cheques. Our duty is to expose with documented proof that mischief was done by the government and we have successfully done that. I don’t want to comment about our law department or high court because I may be charged with contempt. The way in which all government institutions, including the Constitutional institutions, are behaving is appalling. What can one do in that case? Where can we go with our appeal? From whom can we expect proper action and justice? This is the problem in Karnataka. The BJP high command has no guts to take action against Yeddyurappa. He has become the super high command. We are doing our job as a responsible Opposition party.
Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has said that Lokayukta Santosh Hegde could have done more on tackling corruption in Karnataka. He later withdrew the statement. Do you think he was right in criticising a Constitutional figure?
Instead of commenting on Hegde’s role, I request the law minister to collect proper information about Yeddyurappa from the institutions working under his department.
You have also recently alleged that the Karnataka government is tapping your phone. Is it for real or a desperate move on your part to get some attention?
It is 100 percent true! They are tapping my phone. This is the trend nowadays — all governments are tapping important leaders’ telephones. It is not only my mobile phone, but even the phones of BJP leaders, who are against Yeddyurappa, are being tapped regularly in Karnataka.
How did your equation with Yeddyurappa change after your alliance in 2006? Isn’t your fight becoming too personal?
I’m not fighting a personal war against Yeddyurappa. Whatever evidence I have released to the media, pertains to the CM’s illegal activities. I’m fighting against a CM, not an individual.
Yeddyurappa is also facing a lot of pressure from within his party. Would you accept a different face from the BJP as CM?
That decision has to be taken by the BJP. If their leaders really want to fight against corruption, to save their face in public, they must take a quick decision without any delay. Otherwise, they will lose their moral right to fight corruption anywhere in the country.
Who do you think are the real people behind the corrupt practices of the current government?
Not Yeddyurappa alone, but the whole Cabinet is behaving like the 40 thieves in Alibaba. All the ministers are after money, and that is why they came to power.
You and your father, Deve Gowda, have been silent on the spate of allegations against the UPA. Is it not dual standards?
We will not be taken seriously in Delhi because we are a small party. It is the duty of the BJP as they are the main Opposition at the Centre. As for us, we are neither protecting the UPA government nor supporting it. If it continues to encourage corruption, we will raise our voice against the UPA too.