Non-declaration Of CM candidate will not affect Cong prospects

Bengaluru: Karnataka PCC chief G Parameshwara on Friday said non-declaration of chief ministerial candidate before assembly polls will not have any impact on the party prospects as it has not been the convention even at the time of Devaraj Urs. “In Karnataka, at no point of time Congress has ever declared a chief ministerial candidate.

Even in the times of Devaraj Urs – one of the tallest Congress leaders, we never declared chief ministerial candidate before polls,” he told PTI in an exclusive interview here. Ahead of the polls next year, the BJP has already announced state party president B S Yeddyurappa as the chief ministerial candidate.

Parameshwara said though it could be a convention in Karnataka, there are exceptions as well, like Amarinder Singh and Virbhadra Singh, who were declared chief ministerial candidates before Punjab and Himachal Pradesh elections. Replying to a query, Parameshwara said he does not feel sidelined after the High Command announced that it would contest the assembly polls under the leadership of Siddaramaiah.

“Party president is supreme when the party is in opposition, but when it is running the government, the onus lies on Chief Minister to deliver programmes of the party. So, he is in a better position to lead the party on or before the polls,” he said. Moreover, Parameshwara said the ultimate authority lies with the High Command which would, as per convention, approve the chief minister’s name as recommended by the Congress Legislative party. “If CLP elects Siddaramaiah and High Command approves it, we will accept it. High Command is supreme for us. There will absolutely be no problem,” he said.

Asked whether he is satisfied with Siddaramaiah’s performance as the chief minister, Parameshwara said whether somebody likes it or not, he deserves all the credit. “Shouldn’t I be giving credit to Siddaramaiah’s government? I, myself was a part of the government as the home minister for 20 months. Can I now say he doesn’t deserve the accolades? No I cannot do that,” he said.

About allegations against Karnataka party incharge and MP K C Venugopal in connection with the Kerala solar scam, and its impact on poll prospects, Parameshwara said he is not a contestant, but a strategist. “If he (Venugopal) is an electoral contestant, then, yes, let the entire BJP leadership go and defeat him. He is a strategist giving us suggestions to win the election. We know to handle bad press and BJP tirade,” he added.

Also, people have rejected these allegations against Venugopal as they elected him twice after his name surfaced in the solar scam, Parameshwara said. Moreover, these are mere allegations which have not been proved so far and he is not the only one, but 20 others who are facing allegations, he said. Venugopal in April last year had filed a criminal case against prime accused in the solar scam, Saritha S Nair, and two TV Malayalam news channels at a court in Kochi, alleging they hatched a conspiracy to defame him by airing a news item in the media.