Did not mean to show disrespect to people: Kumaraswamy on 'at mercy of Congress' remark

Kumaraswamy was on May 23, 2018, sworn-in as Karnataka CM at a grand ceremony in Bengaluru attended by a galaxy of top leaders and regional satraps.

Did not mean to show disrespect to people: Kumaraswamy on 'at mercy of Congress' remark
Pic courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy clarified on Monday that his remarks that he was at the 'mercy' of the Congress and not the people were not to show disrespect to the people, but stress the fact that his continuance in the post depended on the coalition partner. He added that he was committed to waiving farm loans or else he would retire from politics.

"I am the CM who has the responsibility to six-and-half crore people of the state. My remark that I am at the mercy of the Congress party meant that I am Chief Minister as long as their support is with me, and to run any programmes I will need their support is what I said," Kumaraswamy said while seeking to clarify his remarks, which evoked sharp criticism from the BJP.

"In a coalition government, I never said it won't be possible to waive farm loan. What I had said was that in a coalition government, whatever decisions have to be taken would be in consultation and with permission from coalition partner Congress. Why are you (media) spreading that Kumaraswamy took a U-turn or right turn, I don't understand... Don't twist my statements and confuse people," he said, a per news agency PTI.

Slamming his opponents for giving a twist to his remarks, Kumaraswamy said that in the run-up to the Assembly polls, he had asked the people to give him a clear mandate so that he could work independently under the obligation of people. "My appeal was rejected by the people of the state," he told reporters.

Assuring people on the issue of farm loan waiver, Kumaraswamy said, "I have clearly said that I will waive farm loan. I had promised during the election that I would do it within 24 hours (of assuming office). That is true. At least you should give time to breathe. Today, I have limitations. If I don't do it, I have clearly said that I will retire from politics and I will resign as chief minister. Why cannot you wait for some time?" Kumaraswamy told reporters.

What Kumaraswamy had said:

On Sunday, Kumaraswamy had said that he was at the 'mercy' of Congress and not the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka as his government had not received the full mandate which his party had sought in the Assembly elections. "The people of the state rejected me and our party. I had sought an absolute majority. I have heard the statements of farm leaders too and how much they supported me. Mine is not an independent government. I had requested the people to give me a mandate that prevents me from succumbing to any pressure other than you. But today I am at the mercy of the Congress. I am not under the pressure of the 6.5 crore people of the state," he had said.

The Karnataka CM had, however, also said that he had absolute clarity on the issue of farm loan waivers. "I am one step ahead of you to work for the farmers. You need not have to ask me for my resignation over farm loan waiver. If I fail to do that then I myself will resign from the post. Farm loan waiver is my priority. Can't you wait for a week? Even the cabinet has not been formed yet," he had said.

Kumaraswamy was on May 23, 2018, sworn-in as Karnataka CM at a grand ceremony in Bengaluru attended by a galaxy of top leaders and regional satraps. G Parameshwara, the state Congress chief and the party's Dalit face, was sworn in as his deputy.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu, and Pinarayi Vijayan, her counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala respectively, were present on the occasion. Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and socialist leader Sharad Yadav were also in attendance.

(With Agency inputs)

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