Bengaluru: It was time to set the record straight and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah did exactly that on Friday at a press meet to mark his government's fourth anniversary, rubbishing reports that former chief minister S.M. Krishna and former MP A.H. Vishwanath got him into the Congress a decade ago. Ironically, Krishna is now in the BJP while Vishwanath is warming up for an innings in the JD(S)!
“Let me admit frankly that not a single leader from the state was responsible for my induction. I floated the All India Progressive Janata Dal soon after I left JD(S) but seeing its abysmal performance in the panchayat polls, I talked to AICC president, Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, Ahamed Patel, and he fixed an appointment for me with her. Mrs Gandhi later flew down from Delhi to welcome me into the Congress. This is the truth,” he insisted.
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While several senior Congress leaders like former Chief Minister S. M. Krishna, who recently joined the BJP, and A. H. Vishwanath have often claimed credit for his joining the party, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asserted on Friday that no Congressman from the state was responsible for his entry into it in 2006.
The Chief Minister, who was participating in a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Bengaluru Reporters' Guild and Bengaluru Press Club here, recalled the events that led to his joining the Congress to set the record straight.
“Let me admit honestly and frankly today that not a single leader from the state was responsible for my entry into this party. I floated the All India Progressive Janata Dal soon after I left the Janata Dal (Secular), but seeing its abysmal performance in the Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchyat polls I talked to All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahamed Patel and he in turn fixed an appointment for me with her. Mrs Gandhi later flew down from Delhi to Bengaluru to welcome me into the party. This is the real story and not the one being told by those who claim to have helped me join the Congress,” he insisted.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme organised by the Press Club of Bengaluru on Friday (Photo:DC)
As for his stay at the Raj Bhavan in Maharashtra while Mr Krishna was its Governor, he said that he was merely following Mrs Gandhi's instructions on meeting senior leaders of the state before joining the party.
“I was only following Mrs Gandhi's instructions that I should meet leaders like Mr Krishna. I have not spoken about this all these years, but now I feel I must reveal my side of story,” he maintained.
Responding to a question, he agreed there were other contenders for the Chief Minister’s post. “But the Congress has a time-tested mechanism for selecting a person for such a post. National leaders and the Congress Legislature Party take a decision based on which leader has contributed most to its success in elections,” he added, while asserting that the Congress party in the state would face the 2018 Assembly polls under his leadership.