Chamundeshwari/Karnataka: The upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka will be the last one I will contest, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has told NDTV. The 70-year-old Congress leader, who had earlier said that the 2013 polls would be his last electoral venture, said he had to give in to the wishes of the party's top leadership.
"I said it on the floor of the house once that I will not contest again but the high command directed me to contest in this election because I have been there for five years as Chief Minister and I was told to take responsibility," Mr Siddaramaiah said while on the campaign trail in Chamundeshwari, one of the two seats he is contesting this time.
This is the seat from where he made his debut in the Karnataka assembly in 1983 as a Lok Dal Party candidate. Mr Siddaramaiah, who has won the seat five times and lost twice, contested the last two assembly polls from Varuna, a seat his son is contesting this time.
Asked why he chose Chamundeshwari this time, the Chief Minister said "here I started my political career, so I wanted to contest my last election from the same constituency".
During the election campaign, the BJP has repeatedly attacked Mr Siddaramaiah, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi coining a 2+1 formula (two seats for Mr Siddaramaiah and one for his son Dr Yathindra).
The Chief Minister has hit back with the same language, questioning why the BJP had given tickets to two of the "tainted" Reddy brothers and BS Yeddyurappa who has spent time in jail earlier in an illegal mining case.
Mr Siddaramaiah questioned the very basis of the BJP attack when PM Modi too had contested from two seats (Varanasi and Vadodara) during the 2014 general elections.
"What about he (PM Modi) contesting two seats in 2014? What will he call it? How will he call it?" the chief minister asked.
The assembly poll campaign has seen sharp allegations and counters from both the Congress and the BJP, also on the social media. The Chief Minister, whose tweets have gone up in the past few days, says it's not his language but he does vet each one of them.
"I don't tweet myself, have friends who do it for me. I approve each Tweet before it's sent," he told NDTV.
Mr Siddaramaiah also sought to blunt the attacks made by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda of the JD(S), a party he quit in 2006 to join the Congress.
"Deve Gowda is jealous of me because I completed five years as chief minister and he did not".