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I will stay away from the Karnataka government: M P Prakash
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
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November 09, 2007

He is second only to H D Deve Gowda in the Janata Dal-Secular hierarchy, at least in terms of seniority. He had fallen out with his own party members when the legislators decided to go once again with the Bharatiya Janata Party and form the Karnataka government.

M P Prakash, former deputy chief minister of Karnataka and senior JD-S leader, is unhappy with the way things have shaped up in Karnataka and says that the Gowda clan is to be blamed for taking politics in Karnataka to such an all time low.

Prakash, the strongman of the JD-S, in an interview with's Vicky Nanjappa, bares his heart about the fate of Karnataka politics, the future of the JD-S and the influence of the Gowda clan on the entire political mess that Karnataka is in at present.

What are your thoughts about the JD(S)-BJP coalition?

My memorandum to the governor of Karnataka a week back is clearly indicative of my stand. I will stay away from the government and work for the party instead. What was the necessity for all this drama while transferring power? Had it been done as promised at the end of 20 months, then all this ill-will would not have been there. Power transfer should have taken place gracefully. There is lack of credibility now and the entire state has got a bad name.

What role will you play in the government and are you upset that you have not been offered the post of deputy chief minister, considering your seniority?

As I said earlier, I will stay away from the government. I will work for the party and serve the people of Karnataka. I am not hungry for power. After all this if I am seen going back into the government, then it will not look nice. People in our country feel happier when a person renounces power. Look at Sonia Gandhi [Images]. She has put the BJP on the back-foot by renouncing power.

What do you predict will be the future of the coalition?

It looks very unclear to me at present. The two parties are ideologically different and at present there seems to be no mutual respect. However, power is an adhesive and this may just bind the parties together until the end of the term.

In the event of any elections, will the JD-S tie up with the BJP?

If Gowda continues to head the party, then I am sure there will be no tie up in the future. In fact Gowda will ensure that the party maintains equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress in the event of elections.

Is everything hunky-dory in the JD-S? Revanna has fallen out and says he will not support the BJP. You too are saying you will not join the government.

At the moment the party is one unit. Tell me seriously, who other than me has the capacity to split the party. However powerful Gowda may be, he does not enjoy the support of any of the MLAs. I had 16 MLAs with me. The rest are with Kumaraswamy and they swear by him and not Gowda. I could have split the party, but I decided against it.

Talking about a split, is it true that Kumaraswamy paid Rs 5 crore to each of his MLAs to keep them with him?

Oh no. That is not true. I don't think anyone has that kind of money to throw away in politics. I do not want to take any names, but I was given to understand that the MLAs were promised Rs 1 crore each towards election expense. (Smiles) I was just given to understand this. I am not confirming it.

You said that Gowda will maintain equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. Is that an indication that a third front will be formed at the Centre?

It is unlikely that a third front will be formed with the JD-S in it. It could have been a possibility a few years back, but now no one in Delhi trusts Gowda. Most of the parties feel Gowda is untrustworthy and the man has lost his credibility. However, I do not wish to elaborate as Gowda is the best person who can talk authoritatively about national politics.

Lastly, what is your opinion of Yeddyurappa and how would he fare as chief minister?

If you are asking me to compare him to Kumaraswamy, then I will not do that. Yeddyurappa has worked hard to build his party in the state. But I think he lacks the patience and intelligence to run Karnataka.

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