Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday linked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial “one nation, one election” plan to his frustration stemming from the poll debacle in Karnataka where the BJP was trounced just four months ago.
“He (Modi) came here (in Karnataka) thinking he could do magic by luring the people by addressing multiple public meetings and conducting so many roadshows. But in the end, we managed to win 135 seats and won by good margins wherever he campaigned,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysore.
“So the Prime Minister is frustrated because of this (electoral defeat),” the chief minister said, adding that the poll debacle has “definitely impacted” the one nation, one election move being pursued by the NDA government.
“That’s why they (the BJP) have not been able to appoint a leader of the Opposition even four months after the elections. Neither are they inclined to appoint one,” Siddaramaiah said, taking a swipe at the principal Opposition party that is yet to appoint its floor leader in the Assembly.
While the Congress won 135 seats in the 224-seat Assembly, the BJP could bag just 66 seats. The Janata Dal Secular, with which the BJP is now trying to forge an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, was left a distant third with 19 seats.
The chief minister warned that the one nation, one election idea was not practical as many state governments, including Karnataka which elected the new government only in May, would be affected.
“It is not practical (to hold all elections together)…We had an election four months ago, a year ahead of the Parliament elections. Is it possible to dissolve our Assembly and conduct elections along with Parliament elections? Several states will face the same situation,” he said.
The chief minister said there was an attempt to redefine secularism in the country, ignoring the constitutional provisions for secularism. “The Constitution stands for a secular society since we are a multicultural nation. So, everyone should live as children of one mother, irrespective of their religion or caste,” he said, adding that the caste system should be eliminated.
While addressing a public meeting on Sunday, where newly appointed Congress Working Committee member Nasir Hussain was felicitated, Siddaramaiah spoke about the importance of pluralism. “Pluralism is the lifeline of the Indian culture… Destruction of India’s pluralism means destruction of our Constitution. There is a plan to destroy India’s pluralistic culture of thousands of years. They are giving catchy words and slogans for this,” he had said.
He said the ongoing attempts to change the name of the country to Bharat was part of the move to destroy pluralism. “India’s social, political and economic cohesion will be destroyed if people fall prey to it. They are playing a drama by trying to change the name of the country,” he warned, alluding to how the BJP is trying to change the name of the country because the Opposition alliance is named INDIA.
“The BJP, which named its programmes like Make in India, Skill India, Start-Up India, is now shocked by the name ‘INDIA’ and is going to call the country Bharat,” he said.
The chief minister said India’s pluralism was safe in the Congress’s hands. “The Indian Constitution is safe in our hands. No matter how much political conspiracy anyone does, we will maintain pluralistic India, the friendly heritage of this soil, its secular culture, and the Indian Constitution,” he said.