Ramakrishna Hegde was my mentor: Siddaramaiah snubs HD Deve Gowda

Bengaluru: Denying  the wide-held belief that former Prime Minister Mr H.D. Deve Gowda was his mentor, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said that he was mentored by former Chief Minister late Ramakrishna Hegde who had made him Kannada Watchdog Committee Chairman and later a minister.

Mr Siddaramaiah, who addressed Mr Gowda in the singular, attributed the victory of Janata Dal in 1994 to the combined work of people like Ramakrishna Hegde, himself, Mr M Chandrashekhar and Mr S.R. Bommai, indirectly taunting Mr Gowda saying it was not his victory.

However, when asked if Mr Gowda was an ‘insignificant’ politician, who was only a beneficiary of the hard work done by others, Mr Siddaramaiah replied that he had not said that. “It will be wrong to say that. He was Chief Minister and Prime Minister too,”' he said.

“Gowda may say anything for public consumption. I was not fostered by Mr Gowda. Where was  Gowda when I got elected for the first time as independent? Ramakrishna Hegde made me Kannada Watchdog Committee Chairman and later Minister and fostered me. It is wrong to say he did anything for me,”' Mr Siddaramaiah said.

“After breaking away from the Janata Parivar, Mr Gowda formed SJP and lost from both constituencies he contested. Only two candidates from the SJP won, I too lost. I was very close to Mr George Fernandes, who asked me to join the JD(U). Though we knew it (SJP) was a sinking ship, we stood by Mr Gowda. Even in 1994, it was the team work of people like Mr Hegde, Mr Bommai, Mr M Chandrashekhar, Mr Rachaiah and myself which made us successful. Gowda did nothing,'' Mr Siddaramaiah said.

Exuding confidence over a comfortable victory for the Congress, he said the victory in Karnataka would be the stepping stone for the 2019 Parliament elections. He dismissed talk of a Modi wave saying the election results would be decided by the people, not Mr Modi. On KPCC President Dr G Parameshwar’s statement that the CM would be selected by the high command, he said it was the traditional practice in the Congress. 

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