Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Wednesday credited the "united efforts" of Congress leaders and workers for the party's victory in the state, saying the government is fully committed to fulfilling the five guarantees. Shivakumar also said the government will implement the 'Griha Lakshmi' scheme of giving Rs 2,000 per month to every woman head of the family within a month. He termed the Congress' performance in the assembly polls as a "battle for survival" and said for him personally it was a "do-or-die battle".
In an exclusive interview with The Week, when asked if the Vokkaliga community was upset over not being made the chief minister, he said, "Of course, it is quite natural. Blood is thicker than water. On the Congress' poll promises, he said, "We are going to implement it (guarantee) no matter what happens. There is a meeting of our cabinet on June 20. Arranging around Rs 000,26 crore to Rs 000,30 crore will not be a problem. We will work on arranging the remaining Rs 000,<> crore," he said.
On the Griha Lakshmi scheme, he said, "Whatever promise we have made, we will definitely fulfil it. We will come out with a plan in the first week of June. Shivakumar said the family has to decide to whom the money should go directly through benefit transfer — wife or mother, and they should give details of bank accounts, for which officials will have to visit every household.
Asked how much time it will take to implement the scheme, he said, "We will implement it in a month. We will announce it and whatever the delay, we will come up with a (solution)," he said, adding that some people have written to the government that they do not want to take the money but will not stop anyone from taking it. The Karnataka Congress chief said "karyakartas" (party workers) are the roots of the party and we should see to it that we strengthen them. "The voice of the worker should be the voice of the leadership. That's what I want. I have got 50 per cent success, 50 per cent is still left. I will try to give my best," he said.
He said the primary reason for the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was that it could not deliver what it had promised. He said the stalwarts of the state who ruled in the preceding years had created the brand name of Karnataka and it was being scrapped by the BJP. On taking on the BJP despite the cases against him, he said, "It is not just me, it is a collective effort. There is no doubt that I stood strong and I was ready to face everything. There was no choice. I had to fight this battle for survival. I knew Karnataka would be a beginning for the entire country. It was a do-or-die battle for me. Finally, I could do it (in Karnataka)," he said.
Shivakumar said Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra helped bring enthusiasm to the party and people walked with him. Asked if he was happy with his current situation, he said, "Whether I am happy or not is not important. I will be happy when we give a government with good governance, when we keep our promises, when we fulfil the aspirations of the people," he said.
Shivakumar said he would not like to disclose what has been decided on the power-sharing arrangement between the party high command and him and between Siddaramaiah and him. Asked if the Congress would ban Bajrang Dal, he said if anyone tries to disturb peace through moral oversight, he cannot do so as there is a law of the land.
He also did not respond to a question on whether 'beef' will come back to Karnataka. He said that he does not want to get into controversy. "Let me focus on development, our promises," he said, assuring that the Congress government will probe the corruption of the previous government. "We have already assured the people that we will investigate," he said. On this question, he said, "First let them overcome this defeat. The entire double engine was here. They did what they could," he said.
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(Apart from the headline, this news has not been edited by the NDTV team, it has been published directly from the Syndicate feed.) )