Bengaluru: In a stunning remark which has created ripples in political circles and sent jitters through Congress party ranks, Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Friday expressed doubts over the longevity of the coalition government led by his son, H.D. Kumaraswamy and did not rule out the possibility of snap polls to the Karnataka Assembly.
Mr Gowda made the statement a couple of days after Congress Legislature Party(CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, during a meeting in New Delhi, reportedly told party president Rahul Gandhi that the alliance with the JD(S) had done more harm than good to the Congress hinting that it was time to reconsider the coalition arrangement.
The former PM has more than once in the past expressed his anguish over critical statements by Congress MLAs, who are considered loyalists of Siddaramaiah, targeting his son Kumaraswamy and the coalition government saying the airing of such view in public would do no good to the image of the coalition.
Hours later on Friday, Mr Gowda did a quick retraction claiming he was only referring to the urban local body polls and not Assembly polls. “I want the coalition government to complete its five-year tenure and fulfill the expectations of people,” he said.
Gowda made the remarks while talking to reporters after performing yoga at his residence. “There is no doubt that this (mid-term poll) will happen. I had assured support for a full five years. But seeing the current political developments, I wonder if Congress leaders are interested in continuing with the coalition government. No one knows how long the coalition government will survive. Everything is in the hands of the Congress. In fact, the Congress has lost some of its strength after LS results but we are still with them.”
Reiterating that it was the Congress which came forward to extend support to a coalition government led by his son after the fractured verdict in the Assembly polls, he said this was done to prevent B.S. Yeddyurappa of the BJP from becoming CM. “Did we approach you (Congress)? Delhi Congress leaders came and stitched an alliance to keep the lotus party away from power. Frankly, we (JD-S) did not have any intention to form government. Some Congress leaders think their party's strength will decline if the alliance with JD(S) continues. In the name of stability, they have snatched one of our ministerial berths. We are silently suffering and have not said a word so far about the coalition government. In fact, I had requested them to make Mallikarjun Kharge the CM but they insisted on making Kumaraswamy CM.”
Mr Gowda sought to know how his party could be held responsible for the Congress debacle in LS polls when it could win only one seat in Karnataka. Reflecting on his own defeat in Tumakuru, he said, “I had asked for any constituency where the Congress was defeated (in 2014) and not specifically Tumakuru which the Congress had won in 2014. Congress leaders offered me Tumakuru as they wanted their candidate to contest from Mysuru-Kodagu. There was no need for a discussion after losing the elections as ups and downs are common in politics.”...