BENGALURU: Amid a surge in Covid cases in the state, political activities have gained momentum over the last few weeks. The ruling BJP has revamped its state unit, the Congress has become active under D K Shivakumar and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda too has stepped up to reinvigorate his party. The 87-year-old JDS supremo has decided to even tour the state once the Covid situation improves. Gowda spoke about his plans to strengthen the party, government’s fight against the pandemic, Assam floods and other issues. Excerpts.
You asked JDS leaders to reconnect with voters. Has the JDS started poll preparations?
No. B S Yediyurappa’s government will be there. We are only preparing for municipal, gram panchayat, zilla panchayat and BBMP polls in the next year. I have decided to spend more time in office and focus on strengthening the party. I will tour the state after the situation improves. I have been meeting party workers and have called a meeting of leaders on August 4 to discuss holding a protest against the state government for promulgating anti-farmer and anti-labour ordinances.
After Shivakumar was made KPCC chief, that party has become aggressive. Your views?
They are doing their work and I will continue to do mine. Why should I be bothered about what they are doing?
CM Yediyurappa completed one year in office. How do you rate his government’s performance?
They have not done anything, and on top of it, they released a book on government’s achievements. They have not even given funds to the people who lost houses in floods last year.
Do you think the government took adequate measures to fight the pandemic?
Different decisions were taken at different times. There is a view that the decisions were not taken at the right time. All of us have seen difficulties faced by migrant workers, and it was not properly managed. Timely action was not taken and I don’t know if people received financial assistance. We have not made adequate preparations to prevent Covid spread. Look at what other countries have done.
What prompted you to talk about Assam floods and seek Centre’s attention?
I know the situation in northeastern states. I had inspected those areas and sanctioned a bridge, had decided to build retaining walls and also discussed permanent solutions to floods in Assam and Bihar. Unfortunately, nobody is thinking about permanent solutions.
What is your reaction to Rajasthan developments and Congress’ accusation of BJP destabilising the elected government?
I can recollect many instances where both national parties destabilised elected governments. Everyone knows what happened in Karnataka when 20 MLAs were in Mumbai for two months. After that, the government (headed by HD Kumaraswamy) collapsed. I am not happy with the Governor’s role in Rajasthan. When MLAs were sitting at Raj Bhavan, he should have convened the session and asked the CM to prove the majority.