On whether Siddaramaiah would then continue as the chief minister, Moily gave a guarded reply. "Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the party high command have made it clear that the party will fight the elections under Siddaramaiah's leadership," Moily said, adding that it was for the people and the media to draw inferences.
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said today his party would retain power in Karnataka with absolute majority, but was non-committal on whether Siddaramaiah would continue as the chief minister. The former union minister also ruled himself out of the race for Chief Ministership, and slammed the BJP for raking up the issue of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origin. “Congress has excelled in performance in the last five years, delivered on all pre-poll promises, and there is no anti-incumbency factor against it,” Moily told PTI in a telephonic interview. “We will win with absolute majority. We already have 137 MLAs (in the 224-member Assembly), including seven who have come from JDS and another six or seven independents. We will easily get 147 to 150 (seats in the May 12 Assembly polls),” he said.
On whether Siddaramaiah would then continue as the chief minister, Moily gave a guarded reply. “Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the party high command have made it clear that the party will fight the elections under Siddaramaiah’s leadership,” Moily said, adding that it was for the people and the media to draw inferences. Asked if the party’s central leadership would take a call on the Chief Ministership, Moily said, “We have a set procedure in the Congress party. We will adhere to it.” He said that Siddaramaiah had brought political stability in Karnataka. “In contrast, the BJP rule between 2008 to 2013 was full of dissident activities against the then Chief Ministers B S Yeddyurappa, D V Sadananda Gowda, and Jagadish Shettar,” he said.
Moily said he was not nursing an ambition to become Chief Minister. “No, no. I am not (in the race for Chief Ministership). I have already served as Chief Minister,” Moily said. On the BJP raking up the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origin by referring to her maiden name, Antonio Maino, he said the UPA chairperson was as good an Indian citizen as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “In fact, the BJP ideology is a foreign ideology. They don’t believe in ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’.. That’s (BJP raking up the foreign origin issue) meaningless; it will not click in the minds of people. They adore and respect Sonia Gandhi as they used to respect Indira Gandhi,” he said. “Sonia Gandhi is very much an Indian, rooted in Indian culture. I don’t think that can be challenged. It’s a futile exercise, it’s out of desperation that the BJP is raising unnecessary, silly and irrelevant issue,” he added.
Moily alleged that the BJP had given eight tickets to (the tainted) Reddy brothers (of Bellary) and their associates, whom it had distanced itself from in the past, “out of desperation”. “They cannot fight elections without them,” he said.