Belagavi/ Bengaluru: If there is anyone who can play the balancing game to perfection amid a phase of political uncertainty with the ruling BJP's fate in Karnataka crucially dependent on the verdict of the December 5 bypolls to 15 Assembly seats, it is JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda.
A day after Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge and former Deputy CM Dr G. Parameshwar gave enough hints that their party was not averse to a revival of an alliance with the JD(S) after the bypoll results on December 9, Deve Gowda quipped that he had run a government with both in the past. "With the BJP, I have had the experience of running a government because of my son (H.D. Kumaraswamy in 2006-07), and with my approval, we had (a government) with the Congress also (2018-19)," the former PM said keeping everyone guessing about his future political moves.
Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, he said, "Keeping both at a distance, saying 'namaskara' to both of them, I will work beyond my limits to strengthen my party." However he made it more than clear that he was not for a coalition government headed by former CM Siddaramaiah whom he had more than once in the past, blamed for the collapse of the government headed by his son H.D. Kumaraswamy in July this year.
"There are other leaders like H.K. Patil, K.H. Muniyappa and D.K. Shivakumar (in the Congress) who have the ability to serve as chief minister," said the JD(S) supremo emphatically making it clear that the Congress need not look for his support for another government headed by Siddaramaiah.
Sources say that despite being weighed down by money laundering and tax evasion cases, Vokkaliga strongman D.K. Shivakumar could be the man the JD(S) is likely to support in case the BJP fails to get the required seven seats for a simple majority in the 224 seat Assembly. The JD(S) workers, who have in recent months been going overboard in backing Mr Shivakumar afer his release from a Delhi prison, are sure to accept this choice but it remains to be seen if the Congress high command will upset the ‘hierarchy’ in the state unit and prefer him to Siddaramaiah, the CLP leader.
Deve Gowda had recently said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi's decision after the bypolls should be watched out for, leading to speculation about the possible coming together of the two parties once again, if the situation arose. Lending credence to the speculative reports,
However, CM B.S. Yediyurappa has rubbished speculation of another JD(S)-Congress government in the making knowing well that the two parties which do not have a formal pre-bypoll alliance and are fighting each other in several constituencies, will have to win a majority of the 15 bypoll seats to make a serious bid for power.