JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy. (Photo: Twitter/@hd_kumaraswamy)
BENGALURU: Ruling out the possibility of a hung verdict, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday exuded confidence that his party will grow beyond its traditional old Mysuru region in the upcoming assembly polls and form a government on its own strength in Karnataka.
The former Chief Minister also claimed that there is a strong undercurrent in his favour, especially in rural areas, and people are saying "this time it is Kumaranna (as Kumaraswamy is popularly known among his supporters)"
He said his party has already announced a list of 93 candidates for the assembly polls, which is likely by May, and will announce the second list of 50-60 candidates in about 10 days.
"In my opinion there will be a government with a clear majority this time, I have belief in it, I'm saying this as I'm able to gauge the pulse of the people. All these days it was said that JD(S) was limited to certain constituencies of the old Mysuru region. Today, growing beyond those boundaries, I'm confident about reaching the target we have set," Kumaraswamy said.
Interacting with the media at Bengaluru Press Club, he said, there is no question of a hung mandate, and that he and his party are making all out efforts to meet the 123-seat target (in 224 member assembly) and will achieve it.
"There is a feeling among people against national parties and they want to give a chance to a regional party. Even if Modi and Shah visit a hundred times, it is difficult for BJP in Karnataka, as their government has performed that bad in the state," he said, adding that BJP seeks votes in the name of PM Modi, Congress cites Bharat Jodo Yatra, while JD(S) is the only party asking for a mandate for its programmes.
Ruling out any alliance with any party as of now, Kumaraswamy said in the days to come if any like-minded smaller parties come forward, his party was open to consider it.
JD(S) is the team of 6.5 crore people of the state, he said as he hit out at Congress and BJP for calling his party as "B team" of each other, and asked "whose team are they?"
"This time despite all their (BJP and Congress) misinformation campaign, people have decided and will not take them into account. There is an undercurrent in villages- this time it is Kumaranna," he added.
Kumaraswamy also highlighted JD(S)' "Pancharatna Ratha Yatre", a statewide tour that he is undertaking ahead of polls.
This Yatre is to inform people about a five-fold programme called 'Pancharatna' that the JD(S) plans to implement on coming to power, which includes quality education, health, housing, farmer welfare and employment.
Noting that to meet JD(S)' 123 seats target, he was working 18 hours a day and sleeping for just 3 hours, the party leader said, "45 constituencies I have covered travelling 140 km a day, covering villages, and by March 20 will be covering 116 constituencies."
"Including North Karnataka, we have reached the people. I have no doubts. We are strong in Raichur, Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Bidar districts," he said, adding that he was not going to district or taluk headquarters like other party leaders, but was going to villages.
Claiming that he is not perturbed by BJP's focus on the old Mysuru region, Kumaraswamy asserted that JD(S) will win all seven seats in Mandya district.
Conceding that certain legislators and leaders are planning to desert the party in the days to come, he said, that's the reason he has not announced tickets to all constituencies including in Hassan district.
"I'm aware that they have decided, feeling that our party is weak. Let them choose their path."
Responding to a query, Kumaraswamy said the BJP and Congress may try to poach his MLAs and leaders, but our party is not worried about someone going out, as JD(S) is a factory that creates leaders.
"Have not discussed with anyone to join our party, I want to give opportunity to fresh faces. Have already announced the first list of 93, in 8-10 days will announce a second list of 50-60 candidates," he said, as he also expressed confidence about winning 6-8 seats in Bengaluru city
Accusing certain political leaders of trying to 'misuse' religious leaders and heads of maths on the reservation issue, Kumaraswamy said the government should do it in accordance with the Constitution and law.
"The government should not take decisions for the sake of political gains, it should be done based on population and backwardness. Call everyone and make understand what can be implemented within the ambit of constitution and law, and take a decision based on data and numbers," he suggested.
Targetting the BJP government on 'Santro Ravi' issue, alleging his close connection with those in the administration and the ruling party, Kumaraswamy said, "he was in Pune, who made him to move to Gujarat, what was he promised, what happened there?"
"Why was the Home Minister (Araga Jnanendra) coincidentally in Gujarat at the same time? The Home Minister should be asked, the government should answer...I have certain doubts so I'm saying, I don't have proof, but some information has leaked and I have got to know," he said.
K S Manjunath alias 'Santro' Ravi', who is accused of being the kingpin in human-trafficking and having links with politicians and meddling with police transfers, was arrested in Ahmedabad on Friday.
"This is such a bad government that there was no such government in the past and it will not come in the future too," Kumaraswamy added.