This is my last poll battle and a litmus test for the party: JD(S) supremo
Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Monday reiterated that there was “no question” of an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Lok Sabha bypolls, adding that his son, H.D. Kumaraswamy, was only president of the State unit and could not take a decision on an alliance on his own.
Addressing presspersons, Mr. Gowda clarified that the decision of the party not to field anyone for the Legislative Council bypolls of Dharwad, Chitradurga and Mysore Local Authorities constituencies had nothing to do with any tie-up. “There is no need to misinterpret the decision. The party does not have strength in the three constituencies and no funds to spend,” he explained.
Describing the bypolls for Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies as the “crucial battle” for the JD(S), Mr. Gowda said it is “a challenge for the survival of the party”.
Noting that this might be the last political poll battle in his life, he said he would lead the party in the polls and not Mr. Kumaraswamy. “I faced the byelections in Kanakapura in 2002, when the entire government machinery worked against me and my party,” Mr. Gowda recalled.
“This might be the last battle in my political career. I will invest 100 per cent of my political experience to win both the seats,” he said.
When asked about Mr. Kumaraswamy’s keenness to have an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and his reported meetings with BJP leaders, Mr. Gowda said only the party’s national executive was authorised to take a decision on the issue and not Mr. Kumaraswamy.
“After all, JD(S) is not a family-run party. The question of alliance does not arise as none of the BJP national leaders contacted the JD(S),” he said. Replying to a query on the alleged differences between the party’s State and national president, he blamed vested interests for creating differences in the party leadership.
Reacting to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement on the “JD(S)-BJP alliance”, Mr. Gowda cautioned the Congress against provoking him, as that would result in the party “unveiling” hundreds of things that could be detrimental to the Congress. “Let them not question my political and secular credentials,” he warned.
On Mr. Kumaraswamy’s reported meeting with BJP leader R. Ashok, Mr. Gowda said it was just “accidental”.
On fielding Anita Kumaraswamy for the Bangalore Rural constituency seat, Mr. Deve Gowda said though he was against fielding his daughter-in-law, he faced immense pressure to do so.