‘The BJP spent Rs 3-4 crore on each city ward’

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HD Kumaraswamy, former chief minister of Karnataka, tells Kunal Majumder why the JD(S) lost the recent Bengaluru municipal polls

Why did you lose the Bengaluru election?
In the last 10-15 years, our opponents have succeeded in misleading the people of Bengaluru into thinking that our party is against the city’s development. Money too played a major role in this election. That’s one factor why we lost.

Photo: AP

What will you do to change your image?
That can only be done by interacting more with people. We have to work hard for this. More awareness about our work has to be spread. In this election, we have not put any advertisements about our contribution to Bengaluru, but the BJP misused the government machinery to mislead the people.

You said a lot of money has been used…
In this election, BJP invested more than Rs 3-4 crore in each corporation segment. Apart from individual contributions, the land developers were with BJP. Plus the party also spent a lot of money — they gave more than Rs 1 crore to each candidate.

Didn’t corruption become an issue, especially the Reddy brothers’ illegal mining in Bellary?
People are no longer taking corruption issues seriously. They seem to be no more bothered about corruption and illegal activities. People have started accepting that when you are in power, you can collect a huge amount of money and distribute it among your own people. They have started accepting corruption as a part of life nowadays.

Instead of talking about corruption, Deve Gowda was caught on tape abusing Chief Minister Yeddyurappa
When such illegal activities are going on in the state, the reaction of the common man will be exactly like this. It is the view of the common man in Karnataka.

But haven’t you failed to make illegal mining an electoral issue?
It is the duty of the Centre to act against the Reddy brothers. Otherwise it is very difficult. What can we do? At the most, we can issue a statement and arrange a protest march with 10,000 people. The Centre is turning a blind eye to these illegal activities. If they keep quiet, illegal activities will only grow in a big way.

So are you saying the Congress is hand-in-glove with the BJP over the Bellary mining?
I don’t know. But it is shocking the way the Centre is keeping quiet on the issue.

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