Santosh Hegde endorses AAP’s Prithvi Reddy, attacks BJP and Congress

“In the current scenario, it is better to choose a good candidate than a powerful party," the former Supreme Court judge said.
Santosh Hegde endorses AAP’s Prithvi Reddy, attacks BJP and Congress
Santosh Hegde endorses AAP’s Prithvi Reddy, attacks BJP and Congress
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On April 25, Santosh Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge and ex-Lokayukta of Karnataka, addressed a small public gathering in a private home in Cox town, which comes under Sarvagnanagar constituency in Bengaluru.

Urging the residents of the area to exercise their right to vote and choose suitable candidates, he also endorsed the candidature of Prithvi Reddy of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming assembly elections.

Prithvi Reddy, Karnataka convenor of the AAP, is fighting the elections from the constituency against the Congress heavyweight KJ George, who is the Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning in the present Karnataka government.

Speaking to the residents, Santosh Hegde said, “Don’t vote because the candidate is related to you, or is of your caste, religion etc. Don’t even vote because your relatives have been voting for a particular party or candidate for a long time. Vote for someone who is committed to a social cause, who is committed to you. I don’t want the next generation to say that our elders did not even try to change the system and solve the problems. Let’s not be pessimistic but lay a foundation for the future. We need to analyse the contributions made by our representatives in the elected bodies.”

Praising the work done by Prithvi Reddy in the area, Santosh Hegde added, “In the current scenario, it is better to choose a good candidate than a powerful party. When we say we are in a democracy, we should understand that we have a lot of strength. Choose the right person. Please don’t think my one vote cannot change anything. He (Prithvi Reddy) is an honest person, although he is in a wrong party. However, still vote for him. If you don’t want to vote for him, choose the NOTA (None Of The Above) option, but do vote.”

Santosh Hegde, when he was the Lokayukta of Karnataka, had investigated illegal mining in the state and presented a report to the Supreme Court in July 2011, which eventually led to former state Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa going to jail. Yeddyurappa was eventually acquitted by the Karnataka High Court.

Criticising the recent governments and commenting on recent developments, he said, “2G scam cost the nation Rs. 1,76,000 crore. The Coal Scam was worth Rs. 1,80,000 crore. Compare these numbers with the Karnataka state budget for 2017-18 in which the state government had planned to spend Rs. 1,80,000 crore on salaries of 4 lakh government servants. With such scams, how can there be development? The moment you question the politicians or their ill-gotten wealth, some defamation case is filed against you or the Parliament/Assembly will summon you.  Even the judiciary is going through a terrible phase. Four senior Supreme Court judges have to come out to speak to the media about internal administrative issues. Political parties are launching an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India. It takes 10-15 years for a judgment to come, and then the appeal procedure begins. Why will people trust the judiciary?”

Attacking the BJP and Congress, he said, “35% of MPs have criminal records. In Karnataka elections, BJP and Congress are giving seats to candidates accused to molestation. Congress has given 2 seats to the persons from the Reddy group who were named by me in my report. BJP has given 8 seats to tainted mining baron Janardhan Reddy’s kin. In December 2017, the winter session of parliament met for just 14 days and no discussions were held as the session was a complete washout. We must note that it costs Rs. 10 crore to run the Lok Sabha for one day.”

While giving an example of the alleged nexus between BJP CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa and the Jindal group and their role in the scam and how judges were complicit, he said, “I named three Chief Ministers as culprits in my mining report, one each from BJP, Congress and JD(S). Apart from these three, my report implicated 8 ministers, 150 plus officials and big corporates like Jindal, Adani, Reddys etc. One of them has been made CM candidate even after going to jail. Siddaramaiah wanted implementation of the report and walked from Bellary to Bengaluru in 2013 demanding the same. But, even after being the chief minister for five years now, he has not done anything to implement the report. He has not even challenged Yeddyurappa’s acquittal. Both the parties are complicit with each other and whatever political shadow-boxing you see in the media is a fraud”.

When asked to comment on the tough odds he is facing in fighting a powerful politician like KJ George, Prithvi Reddy told TNM, “I have been campaigning for 75 days now and I have noticed a tremendous response. Don’t underestimate what one honest man can do in this system. We have seen that one honest man (pointing to Hegde) can do wonders. We are talking about roads, garbage collection and education, not caste and religion. I am not fighting a party or a candidate, but the kind of politics they stand for”.

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