Deve Gowda’s statement on supporting Bommai government has partymen flummoxed

H.D. Deve Gowda. File  

It came as a surprise to his own partymen when Janata Dal (S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda assured support to the BJP government in case of a crisis, after newly sworn-in Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai visited him on Sunday to “seek his blessings”.

For, though the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had been seen cozying up with the B.S. Yediyurappa dispensation over the past two years, the octogenarian leader had been silent on the issue, leaving to speculation the party’s stand on the BJP. “Mr. Gowda’s statement has surprised many within the party since he is not known to speak on such sensitive issues unless it helps the party,” a JD(S) source told The Hindu. Another leader said he had called on the family members to ascertain if there was anything “more than what met the eye”.

One leader said that Mr. Gowda’s statement lent itself to multiple readings and it was hard to predict what was on the veteran leader’s mind. “You can see this statement as one that gives the Congress, which had in 2018 called the JD(S) the ‘B-team’ of the BJP, more fodder to criticise. On the other hand, it can also be seen as sending out a signal to Lingayats that the JD(S) is with them,” another source said.

That Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown a soft spot towards Mr. Gowda over the past couple of years is known. Despite this, the JD(S) supremo had kept a low profile and had, till recently, been a rallying point for parties opposed to the BJP.

However, in what seen as a change of stand by unilaterally declaring support to the BJP government in the State, Mr. Gowda’s statement is being speculated as having a larger dimension in the political spectrum. By announcing cooperation, he is not only seen as helping the BJP high command to keep former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at bay, but is also covertly emerging as an important political player in the current times.

“It is a fact that Mr. Gowda was seen as among those responsible for bringing down the government of S.R. Bommai in 1988. Why would he [Basavaraj Bommai] go to seek his blessings? Why did he not visit any other former CM?” asked Lohia Thinkers Forum president B.S. Shivanna, who was earlier associated with the Janata Parivar. “There is political manoeuvring. Having lost its true regional character, the JD(S) is trying to remain relevant.”

However, another senior party leader said Sunday’s statement was situational. “Political developments depend on how the circumstances pan out. The meeting need not be over-analysed when polls are nearly two years away.”

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 5:06:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/deve-gowdas-statement-on-supporting-bommai-government-has-partymen-flummoxed/article35690841.ece

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