Predicts a setback for Congress in polls

The former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Friday said the strength of regional parties could not be underestimated, as they had voters committed to their cause.

“These parties cannot be brushed aside. What was the fate of national parties in Delhi? Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) pushed the Congress to the third position (in the Delhi Assembly elections),” Mr. Gowda said, contending that regional parties were a force to be reckoned with.

Speaking at a ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme organised by the Mysore District Journalists’ Association here, Mr. Gowda said the JD(S) would spell out its agenda in the election manifesto, which will be released on Sunday.

He predicted that the Congress would suffer a major setback in the coming Lok Sabha polls, adding that regional parties were expected to gain.

“The JD(S) is a small regional party. It is contesting in 24 seats, unlike parties that have fielded candidates in all 545 seats. My party does not have the support of corporate houses like the BJP. I can only appeal to people to send more JD(S) MPs to Parliament to fight for Karnataka’s cause,” he said.

Mr. Gowda added, “even if I am the lone party MP, I will still fight for Karnataka’s issues.”

Electoral calculations

Replying to questions on the delay in finalising party candidates, particularly for Mysore, Mr. Gowda said the JD(S), like national parties, made electoral calculations. “There is no need to draw conclusions on the party’s electoral moves. Like other parties, we too have fielded candidates after serious thoughts,” he said.

Without taking the name of former MP C.H. Vijayashankar (BJP candidate from Hassan), Mr. Gowda asked: “Why was he fielded in Hassan when he was elected twice from Mysore?”

‘Let the party take note’

On the remarks against him made by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara, Mr. Gowda said: “I don’t want to react to their remarks. I personally feel that the Congress should take note of them.”

Party MLAs G.T. Deve Gowda, S.R. Mahesh, Chikkamadu, Sandesh Nagaraj; party candidate from Mysore Chandrashekaraiah; and other leaders were present.

Later, Mr. Gowda campaigned for the party here.

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