This will be used in Janata Dal(S) poll manifesto, says former Prime Minister and JD (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda

The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda on Sunday appealed to educated Muslim leaders to prepare a roadmap for the welfare of the community. This, he said, would be used by his party in the preparation of its election manifesto.

Addressing a meeting of Muslim intellectuals, in which retired academics, bureaucrats and professionals took part, organised by the Janata Dal(S) here to elicit their views, and also to know about their expectations from the party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Deve Gowda exuded the confidence of bringing the Janata Dal(S) to power again.

The issues raised by Muslims would be taken up at the national level if the Janata Dal(S) wins a good number of Lok Sabha seats, he noted.

The Janata Dal(S) would not discriminate against communities and religions but would strive for the development of all those who have been left out of the mainstream, he said.

Stating that the Janata Dal(S) will not join hands with the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party in future, he appealed to Muslims not to doubt the “secular character” of his party. Maintaining that his son and the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy should not have aligned with the BJP to form a government in 2005, he, however, blamed the alleged efforts by the Congress to divide the party as the main reason that led to such circumstances.

He said that the Janata Dal(S) would have come to power in the State but for the “whispering campaign” suggesting that it would join hands with the BJP.

This forced the Muslims to desist from voting for the party, he said.

Accusing the Congress of failing to protect the interests of Muslims, he said that the Congress was sinking.

Mr. Kumaraswamy accused the Congress of not only losing its secular character but also weakening secular parties for its own political gains.

Stating that the Congress was being rejected throughout the country, he appealed to Muslims to back the Janata Dal(S) which was making efforts to form a third front by bringing secular parties together.

“You help us win 15 or 16 Lok Sabha seats, as it happened in 1996, and we will assure you of ensuring that all your major demands are met by the Union Government within a month of the elections,” he promised, while saying that a non-Congress and non-BJP political combination comprising the Janata Dal(S) would form the government at the Centre after the polls.

Referring to the “informal tie-up” between the Janata Dal(S) and the BJP in the by-elections to the Lok Sabha, he alleged that it was a conspiracy hatched out by the Congress and the BJP to show that the Janata Dal(S) in poor light, as the BJP had extended support even without the latter asking for it.

Janata Dal (S) State president A. Krishnappa, secretary-general Abdul Azeem and general secretary Sultana Begum spoke.

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