(Source: BloombergQuint)

Former Anti-Corruption Ombudsman Can’t Tell Congress From BJP In Karnataka 

Use your vote as a weapon to bring in a good government. That is the advice Justice Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta of Karnataka, is giving voters ahead of an election that has seen the two national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, pull out all stops to win.

Justice Hegde emphasises the importance of selecting a candidate who will ensure that money earmarked for a constituency actually reaches it. And if there is no such candidate, then NOTA (none of the above) should be the option, he says.

Go and vote, and if you don’t find anybody suitable, then vote for NOTA.
Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta, Karnataka

Justice Hegde has endorsed the Aam Aadmi party candidate, Prithvi Reddy, from the Sarvagnanagar constituency in Bengaluru. His support is, however, limited to the candidate and not the party.

Also read: Karnataka Elections 2018: Key Numbers To Watch Out For

The former Lokayukta’s position comes at a time when he has expressed disappointment with the candidates selected by both the BJP and the Congress. Justice Hegde’s 25,000-page report on illegal mining activities in Karnataka in 2011 was responsible for the chief minister at the time, BS Yeddyurappa, stepping down. Today, Yeddyurappa is back as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.

“It looks as if the BJP has no other leader,” says Justice Hegde. Yeddyurappa was acquitted by a CBI court of the charges in 2016, but Hegde points out that other cases are pending in the Supreme Court.

BJP should not have nominated Yeddyurappa as the next CM candidate. As if there is no one else in Karnataka.
Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta, Karnataka

The former ombudsman’s ire is not limited to just the BJP. He is equally dismayed with the Congress government’s five-year tenure in Karnataka. The mining report authored by Hegde had fuelled the Congress campaign before the last elections. Siddaramaiah, the current chief minister, had held protest marches after the report was made public. But Hegde says, since the win, the current government has not acted on the report.

The modus operandi adopted by the BJP government has been continued by this government. I can find no difference.       
Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta, Karnataka

Also read: Karnataka Polls: A Modi Vs Rahul Fight? 

Even as the former Supreme Court judge suggests NOTA to voters who can’t find the right candidate from their constituencies, he does have a prediction for the upcoming elections.

I don’t think any party will get single majority. It will be hung house, which will be terrible thing for Karnataka. 
Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta 

Watch the full interview here.