Interview with KPCC president G. Parameshwar.

THE Congress has chosen to wait till “the right moment” to name its chief ministerial candidate. One of the aspirants for the post is the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, G. Parameshwar, who says his mandate is to bring the Congress back to power. Excerpts from an interview:

What are the Congress’ priorities?

Good, clean governance. The rest will follow. Also, our priorities are the power and irrigation sectors. There is a power shortfall of around 3,000 mega watts (MW). We can resolve this in five years. The Government of India has already sanctioned a 4,000 MW plant near Bijapur. Our share from this is 40 per cent. On the irrigation front, sufficient funds have not been allocated. The BJP government only allocated funds for small canals and repair works. We have committed Rs.10,000 crore in our manifesto to boost irrigation projects.

And…

We also want to solve social issues such as pension, public distribution system, education facilities, health care and drinking water. We have had three successive droughts. There is a complete lack of development in Karnataka. Even on the investment front the BJP has failed. The party claimed that the two Global Investors Meets have brought in investment worth 4.5 lakh crore and 7.5 lakh crore respectively. Show me where? We want to create a better environment in order to get investments.

What is your party’s stand on tackling corruption?

It is one of the issues. We want to strengthen institutions that curb and investigate corruption such as the Lok Ayukta, and revenue intelligence. These bodies have become defunct.

But the Congress has its own share of tainted Ministers and leaders.

But those found guilty have been punished. Suresh Kalmadi went to prison, R. Chauhan was punished. Action has been taken. Not like the BJP, where 26 cases are pending against its Ministers.

For the Congress, ticket distribution has gone horribly wrong.

Only in some isolated cases. In any political system there are bound to be such issues. I think eight or 10 Congress rebels are contesting as independents. We will take action against anyone who contests against the official candidate. The process was well analysed. However, in some cases political compulsions forced our hand.

Are you in the race for chief ministership?

The Congress President [Sonia Gandhi] will take a call on this. What is needed is not an aggressive person, but a clam, quite, progressive person as Chief Minister.

Whose support will you take in the event of a hung Assembly?

We will emerge with a majority on our own.

Ravi Sharma