BENGALURU: Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is in a position to play king-maker in the city’s mayoral election, on Sunday declared that the JD(S) would stay neutral in the fight between Congress and BJP.
Signalling a change of tack, Kumaraswamy called back his party corporators from a luxury resort in Kochi, where they were staying with some Congress leaders.
Kumaraswamy, who is himself relaxing in a resort in Chikkamagaluru, said the stay of 14 JD(S) corporators with Congress leaders like Byrathi Basavaraj, a close confidant of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, had sent a wrong message to the people.
“I have asked our party corporators to come back from the resort in Kochi. I want JD(S) to remain neutral in this fight between Congress and BJP for the mayor’s post. This is my personal opinion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy has deferred a meeting of JD(S) corporators and Bengaluru MLAs scheduled to be held between Tuesday and September. The meeting will finalise the party’s stand on pleas for support from both Congress and BJP. The party leadership has decided to adopt a wait-and-watch strategy to further raise its bargaining power.
With the 14 members of JD(S) set to play a decisive role in the mayoral election, Kumaraswamy’s decision is being seen as a move to gain leverage with either the Congress or BJP. With the Congress determined to stop BJP from capturing Bengaluru, the JD(S) strategy would automatically boost its bargaining power. Even if JD(S) members choose to abstain from voting, they can help BJP win the battle.
Earlier in the day, T A Saravana, JD(S) MLC, met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and discussed forging an alliance between Congress and JD(S). He reportedly urged Siddaramaiah to speak to party leader Deve Gowda personally as only Siddaramaiah’s loyalists have been campaigning for striking an alliance till now. Siddaramaiah is said to have responded positively to the request.