Days after the controversy on the separate flag for the Karnataka state, in a candid interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Chief Minister, Karnataka State Siddaramaiah says that having a separate flag does not violate the Constitution and neither does it affect the unity and integrity of the nation.
Siddaramaiah stressed that he took this decision after the Kanndada activists demanded it. He even stressed that Karnataka is the only state to have a separate state anthem apart from d national anthem.
Chief Minister slammed BJP for giving it a political colour saying that he has formed a nine member committee to look into the legal sanctity of the separate flag. Chief Minister who is already in the pre election mode is upbeat about the prospects of Congress winning 2018 elections. He even targeted BJP for playing the Hindutva and religion card saying the formula is not applicable to Karnataka. He said Congress is the natural choice of Dalits and on the basis of the poorer sections of the society the party will expand its footprints.
Here are the excerpts of the interview given to Rajya Sabha TV Anchor Neelu Vyas for the program To the Point
Here are the edited excerpts of the interview
Q: Why have you agreed for a separate flag for Karnataka, does it not impact the unity and sovereignty of the country?
A: Kannada activists demanded a separate flag. Our federal structure will not be destroyed. State can always have its own flag. It will not impact on the sovereignty & unity of the country
Q: Coming as it does just before state elections, are you not trying to appease the Kannada voices?
A: Separate flag has no connection with elections. We believe in pluralistic society, we are in a federal state, a 9 members Committee is constituted to look into the legal sanctity to the separate flag, there is no violation of the Constitution.
Q: People say you are under tremendous pressure after congress’s poor performance in UP?
A: I am not under any pressure. We will form the govt in 2018 elections. It is wrong to compare Karnataka with Uttar Pradesh, BJP played the communal card, we can’t do that, BJP is disturbing the harmony in the society, BJP playing religion card
Q: Recently you were heard giving a statement that I am Siddha, I am Rama I am a Hindu, BJP are not the only Hindus, why only mention Hindus why not Muslims?
A: We are committed to secularism, Hindutva is not the property of BJP, and I am a Hindu too, Congress also has Hindus within its fold, BJP wants to polarise the votes
Q: What about anti incumbency factor which is working against congress?
A: There is no anti incumbency. We won both by- elections with a comfortable lead. We are banking on all sections of the society. All religions will support Congress. Our youths are geared up to take on all divisive forces and BJP was never a force in Karnataka
Q: Do you need a person like Prashant Kishore to take care of the prospects of the party in the state?
A: We don’t need Prashant Kishore, our local leaders are strong enough, and Modi wave did not work in Goa, Manipur, & Punjab
Q: There are accusations that you are on an over appeasement of backward classes? Are you not overplaying the Dalit card?
A: Congress was always a favourite with the Dalits. Dalit votes of Congress are intact, poor section of the society always votes for Congress. Congress safeguarded the interests of the Dalits, Congress is for reservation, BJP not committed to social justice and there is no report on state caste census.
Reports on state caste census are mere speculation. I am not overplaying the Dalit card. It’s not a question of appeasement or over appeasement. We have a committed SC/ST & tribal Sub plan, we have not discriminated, BJP is misleading the people, Congress believes in democracy
Q: BJP says Ambedkar is theirs, congress says Ambedkar belongs to them, who is the real claimant?
A: We are celebrating 126th birthday of Dr Ambedkar, BJP cannot claim Ambedkar’s legacy, and BJP opposed Mandal Commission report. BJP opposed reservation for women, Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas is just a slogan minus minority