Janata Dal(S) patriarchH.D. Deve Gowda , 86, is keen on turning the swearing-in of his son H.D. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday, as the head of the newly forged Congress-JD(S) alliance, into a platform for the coming together of “all the secular, democratic forces opposed to the communal BJP”. “I am confident that this platform will send a message to anti-BJP forces across the country,” he said, minutes after speaking to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and inviting her to the event. A host of leaders from non-BJP parties are expected to attend the function. Excerpts:
What is your purpose in inviting all anti-BJP parties, especially regional parties, to the swearing-in on Wednesday?
The plan under way is leading to various kinds of interpretations. I would like to clarify that we are inviting leaders of all political parties who are opposed to the BJP. Some among them may be opposed to the Congress and some may not be. But everybody’s central agenda is keeping BJP away from power in the 2019 polls to the Lok Sabha. I want to bring the leaders of both these groups on one platform, though it is a difficult task. They will, however, take a final call on the nature of the anti-BJP front. I am confident that this platform will send a signal on the coming together of anti-BJP forces.
Is it practical or possible to float an anti-BJP alliance without the Congress now?
Let us be honest. Being an alliance partner of the Congress now in Karnataka, I don’t think, any anti-BJP alliance without the Congress is possible. The Congress will come into the picture one way or the other because of its pan-Indian presence. If the Congress wins more seats, it will be naturally an ally of any front opposing the BJP and Mr. Modi. But let me clarify that I will not interfere in any of these exercises.
The Congress extending unconditional support to the JD(S) surprised many. How did it all happen?
I was indeed pained by the way the Congress attacked me in the run-up to the polls. As resolved previously, the JD(S) was prepared to sit in the Opposition. But I have swallowed all the humiliation meted out to me and my party in the last one year in the larger interest of the country.
What is your take on the political drama that unfolded on Saturday in the Legislative Assembly?
It is a victory for the judiciary. The apex court on that day upheld the democratic values in the country by containing attempts at horse-trading. The faith of the people in the judiciary was further strengthened because of the court holding a midnight hearing.
So, are you confident of the Congress-JD(S) alliance going a long way?
It is not time to rake up old wounds. Neither me nor my son H.D. Kumaraswamy want to revisit mistakes committed either by us or by the Congress. Now, it is time to live up to the image of being the former Prime Minister of the country who stood for the values of secularism. I have to listen to the call of the nation.