Former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy acknowledged on Thursday that the five ‘guarantees’ of the Congress ”lured” people in the May 10 Assembly elections and not the ‘Pancharatna’ programme promised by his party Janata Dal (Secular).
Speaking about the demand from various communities that the chief minister should be from among them, Kumaraswamy said a chief minister should not belong to any one community but work to improve the lives of all 6.5 crore people of the state.
He also said he would like to see how the Congress would implement those schemes and the conditions attached to avail the benefits.
”The Pancharatna scheme we promised and the efforts I made day and night for six months to popularise them did not attract people. People might have been lured towards those small-small guarantee schemes of Rs 2,000 (Congress guarantee schemes),” Kumaraswamy told reporters here.
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The Pancharatna scheme was a five-point programme related to education, health, housing, farmer welfare and employment. JD(S) won just 19 seats in the 224-member Assembly in the polls, compared to 37 in the previous elections in 2018.
Speaking about the success of the five ‘guarantees’ of the Congress, the JD(S) second-in-command said, ”We have to see. Aren’t those who prepared these schemes more experienced than me? They must have made some calculations.” The Congress has promised 200 units of free electricity to all households and Rs 2,000 to women heads of families every month, among other promises.
Referring to the poll outcome, Kumaraswamy said ”such poor results” were not unexpected for his party. In 1999, former Prime Minister and the JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda lost from two places and the party won only 10 seats but five years later it bounced back with 58 seats.
“The same people who gave this mandate (this 2023 election) will ask for JD(S) in the coming days. Hence, I am hopeful,” he added.
To a question about the results in JD(S) stronghold Mandya district where the party won only one out of seven seats, Kumaraswamy said the BJP wanted to ”finish off” his party.
”As a part of it, a river of money was flown due to which we were defeated,” he alleged.
Regarding the pontiffs of the dominant Vokkaliga community demanding that a Vokkaliga be made Chief Minister, the JD(S) leader said the seers might have said it out of love.
”They (seers) said it because they wanted someone from their community to become the chief minister. I won’t call it wrong but one thing I would like to say is when people bat for their caste, caste struggle will go on. This is my opinion,” Kumaraswamy said.
”A chief minister should not belong to one community. He should provide leadership that can improve the lives of 6.5 crore people,” he added.