BENGALURU: The JDS will not destabilise the 9-day-old BJP government, says party supremo HD Deve Gowda. The former Prime Minister, in spite of his defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and the fall of his son’s government in Karnataka, is still a picture of energy as he speaks fondly of his party’s future, unlike the national president of former coalition partners, the Congress.
While Rahul Gandhi chose to distance himself from the administration of the Congress, Gowda is instead taking the mantle of supremo seriously and working to rebuild the JDS brick by brick. At 87, he still spends time in the office daily and works on strategies to retain the party’s hold on the Old Mysuru region. In an interview with The New Sunday Express, Gowda said that he is still open to an alliance with the Congress in the upcoming assembly bypolls. “The Congress has to decide if they want to coordinate with us,” Gowda said. Excerpts.
Are you open to an alliance with the Congress or atleast fighting the bypolls together?
While national leaders wanted a tie-up, some local Congress leaders opposed it from day one. Grassroot workers did not come together. Now if they approach us, we will take a call. The people have punished us.
If you do well in the bypolls, can we hope to see the coalition government back?
(Firmly) No. BS Yediyurappa has formed the government. Let him rule for 3.8 years, we do not want to destabilise them, what for? Why should we do it?
Your strategy for the BBMP elections? Is an alliance with the Congress on the cards?
The elections are in about 10 months and we will fight alone. For the Zilla Panchayat elections in about a year, we will fight alone. Seat sharing in local bodies is ruled out.
What does issue-based support to the BJP mean?
I said that in reference to the budget as it was prepared by Kumaraswamy. Why should I oppose the budget? Siddaramaiah had objected for the supplementary budget and the vote on account.
You have said you are strongly secular, is secular India finished for the next 50 years ?
Post Indira Gandhi, remember how the Congress won 400 plus seats. People of this country have abundant common sense and will give their verdict at the appropriate time. Till then I am working to rebuild my party.
Your social media presence is limited.
Agreed that our social media presence needs to improve. They (BJP) are formidable on social media. See how they are controlling all media. But I have confidence in our people and our nation.
Siddhartha committed suicide a few days ago, they say due to tax harassment?
I knew him since 1988-89 and about 50,000 families are dependent on him. He lived for self respect and I don’t know why he did not approach banks. When one Congress leader was harassed by tax authorities and when the issue was pending and investigations were on, the thread pointed to a link to Siddhartha. Mental torture, tension and depression led him to commit suicide. It is one of the most tragic incidents I have seen in my political career.
Do you feel they harassed your party too during elections, HD Kumaraswamy , Siddararamaiah, DK Shivakumar, Dinesh Gundu Rao and other leaders protested outside the IT office?
I have been reading and hearing several instances of I-T harassment. JDS members and supporters were raided. I am immune to this. I don’t want to comment.