P. Sunderarajan

NEW DELHI: Janata Dal (Secular) president H.D. Deve Gowda, on Monday reiterated that his party was open to seat-sharing with the Congress for the byelections to eight Assembly seats in Karnataka.

Recalling that he had given a call to all secular forces four months ago to come together to defeat the “unethical and immoral” policy of the BJP to shore up its strength in the Assembly by openly luring MLAs from the Janata Dal (S) and the Congress, he noted that there had been no response from the Congress for the call, even though his party had been doing everything to follow up on it.

“Keeping aside the bitterness over the way the Congress treated the Janata Dal (S), I extended cooperation for two Congress members to be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka and three to the State Legislative Council. I also rejected point-blank an alliance offer from the BJP during the election to the posts of Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council. But, there has been no response from the Congress.”

Speaking to The Hindu, he also recalled that his son H.D. Kumaraswamy had called on Congress leader in-charge of Karnataka affairs, Prithviraj Chavan, a month ago and he was told the party would take a stand after appointment of a new State party president.

Mr. Gowda confirmed that the new State Congress president R.V. Deshpande, along with former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and former State unit president M. Mallikarjun Kharge called on Mr. Kumaraswamy a few days ago. But, he said, the discussion was on the general political situation in the State and not on any possible alliance.