HD Deve Gowda mines Ballari ahead of 2018 polls, lures Hothur

Mr Gowda told reporters that he invited Mr Iqbal to join his party and offered him the ticket to contest from Ballari City.

Ballari: As part of his state-wide tour to gear up for the 2018 assembly elections, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) national president H.D. Deve Gowda has begun the exercise of reviving his party base in this ore-rich district by luring 'disgruntled' mine lords in the Congress and BJP by offering them party tickets to contest in the forthcoming elections.

On Tuesday, Mr Gowda visited the residence of Congress mining baron Mr Hothur Mohammed Iqbal for breakfast and had a closed door meeting with Mr Iqbal who was denied the Congress ticket at the last moment in 2013 from Ballari City assembly constituency. Later, Mr Gowda told reporters that he invited Mr Iqbal to join his party and offered him the ticket to contest from Ballari City.

Mr Iqbal maintained that he had decided to contest the elections to ensure overall development of his hometown Ballari and would think over the invitation of the JD(S) supremo and take a final decision after a discussion with his supporters.

Later, Mr Gowda, addressing his party workers said that the JD(S) will not align with either Congress or BJP, instead it will form the government on its own strength post the 2018 assembly elections.

"Chief Minister Siddaramaiah says the JD(S) is a dead party. But, he must remember where he was groomed before he occupied the CM post after joining the Congress. I will not let the JD(S) die until my last breath", he asserted adding that the JD(S) will form the next government under the leadership of party's state chief H.D. Kumaraswamy.

The former PM said regional parties across the country would come together and be a reckoning force after the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his appeal to the Gujarat electorate to cast their votes for the BJP using the 'Gujarati' poll plank, he said, "All these years the BJP was talking about development under the Gujarat model. After ruling the state for 22 years, they are now asking people to vote for a Gujarathi Prime Minister. Then, what happened to their Gujarat model of development," he asked.

To a question about the performance of the Congress government in the state, Mr Gowda said there are no prima facie evidence to make serious 'corruption' charges against the government led by Siddaramaiah. "But none of the ministers are delivering their duties, they are doing nothing. But, they give advertisements to the media everyday for publicity by wasting huge amounts of money meant for the welfare of the poor."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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