Karnataka | ‘Our Alliance with BJP Won’t Adversely Impact Relationship with Minorities’: HD Revanna to News18 – News18

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HD Revanna, the Hassan-strongman son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, maintains that the Muslims will continue to support Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) despite the alliance with the BJP, which was formalised a week ago. He confidently says it will be the minorities, who will take the initiative to remove the Congress government in Karnataka.

“Look, the Muslims will go nowhere. They will stay with us. We have both stuck together. Why is the Congress so worried about who we ally with? Deve Gowda knows his politics. As long as we are alive…I have even told my children that we will remain close to the Muslim community,” he told News18 in an exclusive interview in his citadel, Hassan.

Edited interview:

Q: Are you satisfied with the JD-S alliance with the BJP?

We have not merged with the BJP but have joined hands to remove this mismanaged government. There will be a time when minorities will take the initiative to remove the Congress government.

Q: People in the JD-S have said they will not work with the BJP. How will you get your workers to overcome differences and work together for 2024?

There are eight more months for the elections. I won’t speculate on that. There are senior leaders in both parties, and what they will say will be followed.

Q: What about Prajwal Revanna and his candidacy for the Hassan Lok Sabha seat?

He has approached the Supreme Court and we are hopeful of getting justice. Whether he gets a 2024 Lok Sabha ticket, we will have to see that later.

Q: What about Bhavani Revanna? Will she contest?

Right now, there is nothing, let’s see in the future. There is 33% reservation for women, and whatever the party and Deve Gowda say, it will be done. Whether it is minorities or women, reservation was given by Deve Gowda. What is their (Congress) contribution? They (Congress) did nothing and that’s why Modi had to do it.

Q: You fiercely fought against the BJP in the Karnataka assembly elections in May, and now you are forced to work together.

There is HD Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda…they will sit and resolve all these issues. When CM Ibrahim was made the Rajya Sabha member, we know all those who opposed it, but he (Deve Gowda) still went ahead. Made him a central minister. He has said he will not talk until October 16, and only after this will express his decision to Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy. Let’s see.

Q: HD Kumaraswamy said he does not need the support of Muslims, and Deve Gowda says he will protect the interests of the minorities. So, will the Muslim community remain with you?

The Muslims will go nowhere. They will stay with us. We have both stuck together. Why is the Congress so worried about who we ally with? Deve Gowda knows his politics. As long as we are alive…I have even told my children that we will remain close to the Muslim community.

Q: Will any of this work in your favour?

There will be a time for everything. Since 1972, things have changed. Look at what has happened to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. They (Congress) say they will protect minorities. But look at Ghulam Nabi Azad. He has worked with Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, but in the Rajya Sabha, he shed tears. A Muslim worker who has worked at least for five decades for the Congress shed tears. When they could not provide protection to such a person, who else will they protect? Danish Ali trusted Deve Gowda and became a Lok Sabha member. A person who has worked for three generations was sent home crying. Did Deve Gowda do this?

Didn’t Deve Gowda protect Muslims in 2006? In Baba Budangiri, did he allow anyone else? A year earlier, the district minister sat there and got a puja conducted. Who caused the Hubballi-Idgah Maidan problem? Did Deve Gowda have to come? It was Deve Gowda who made a Muslim the president of the Nagar Sabha in 50 years in Hassan.

In West Bengal and Kerala, there were a total of 85 seats in the country. Look at the situation of CPI and CPI-M there. Whoever stays with them (Congress), they try to finish off the regional party.

Q: What is the difference between your once ally Congress of 2008 and 2023?

In 2018, Rahul Gandhi came to Hassan and made comments such as “Team B and Team A”. What happened after that? Why did they join hands with us? That’s because there is no ‘Original Congress’. There is only a duplicate one now.

Q: The vote share has directly transferred to the Congress in the assembly elections.

There are many people who touched Kumaraswamy’s feet and said they will not leave the party. These are the people who have taken all benefits and moved to other parties. JD-S is a legislator-making factory. There is no one from the original Congress. More than 60% are from the JD-S.

Q: Do you think the caste census report should be released?

I don’t have a problem. My aim is that all communities should get justice, power, and everyone should live in harmony. They are not getting this but I hope they do.

Q: How do you see the functioning of the current Siddaramaiah-led Congress government which has just completed 100 days?

It has been four months since the Congress has been in power. Since then, they have not launched or done anything that benefits for our farmers. They have not paid heed to the problems of the farmers. We are seeing a severe depletion in the Cauvery river water levels; we are facing drought, farmers are in distress, but the present Congress government has been an utter failure in the handling of the Cauvery water issue.

In June, during the shortage of rain, the government should have informed the farmers whether they were releasing water for the crops. Shouldn’t there have been at least an intimation from the irrigation department? They should have forewarned the farmers of the impending drought situation and also advised them not to sow their land.

I worked as a minister for eight years and served as an MLA for 25 years; I have never seen a situation like this. In the last four months, we have no idea where they have released water from our Hemavati dam. They have released up to 20 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water. Shouldn’t they be telling the farmers what has been done?

Q: Have the Congress guarantees helped the people of your constituency?

This government has brought these guarantees in place only for the sake of votes. What did people get by these guarantees? Have our farmers benefited from these guarantees? Today, because of these grudges, KPTCL (Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited) has seen a loss of around Rs 50,000 crore. Farmers are in a fix, they are unable to sow their crop, they have no water in their borewell, and horticulture crops are unable to survive.

Q: Will the promises or guarantees announced by the Congress have an effect in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections?

Let me tell you one thing, in the name of guarantees, they (Congress) are playing with the lives of people. I have not seen such a corrupt government. Previously, it was said if you pay a bribe, your work would be done. With this government, even if you pay the bribe, the work will not be done.

Q: How much commission is being charged if you say corruption is rampant?

Go and ask them yourself how much commission each department has been demanding. There is no doubt that this Congress government is a “commission government”. An inspector in my area once told me that he was asked to shell out Rs 1 lakh for a posting. Another deputy tehsildar was transferred within three months. There are agents in this government; if you pay Rs 1 or Rs 2 lakh, you can get anybody posted or transferred. I will stress, there is no protest. I am not sure who is running it (government). But there is no protection for the poor and the common people in this government.

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