JD(S) to fight LS polls independently, says Deve Gowda but keeps options open

Bengaluru: The Janata Dal (Secular) would fight the Lok Sabha elections independently, the party supremo and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, said on Tuesday but appeared to keep the options open amid the recent bonhomie between the party and the BJP.

The party would decide on its action in future based on the prevailing situation, he said.

Deve Gowda also said he was not invited to the meeting of opposition parties here earlier this month as a section of the Congress in Karnataka was opposed to such a move even though Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted him to be there.

Gowda’s son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said last week his party would work together with the BJP against the Congress government in Karnataka on various issues, fueling speculation of the two parties joining hands for next year’s polls.

Both the JD (S) and the BJP MLAs had boycotted the Assembly session after ten BJP legislators were suspended from the House for “indecent and disrespectful conduct” in the House.

“JD(S) will fight the Lok Sabha elections independently”, Deve Gowda told a news conference here.

“Whether we (the party) win five, six, three, two or one seats, we will fight the Lok Sabha elections independently”, he said. “We will field candidates only in those places where we are strong after consulting with our workers”.

Gowda, however, said the party will decide its future course of action based on the prevailing situation.

In this context, he recalled how his party had given support to the Congress-led government led by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The JD (S) and the Congress had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together. The BJP had won 25 out of 28 seats in Karnataka then. The JD (S) and the Congress had secured one seat each, while an independent backed by the BJP had also won.

Deve Gowda, who had contested from Tumakuru Lok Sabha segment, had also lost. To a question on why he was not invited by the opposition parties for its meeting in Bengaluru on July 17, Gowda said a section of Congress leaders from Karnataka had opposed his presence.

“A section of Congress here (in Karnataka) had threatened that they will not attend the event if Deve Gowda is invited. Hence, I was not called,” he said.

Deve Gowda said Nitish Kumar wanted to invite him but some local Congress leaders were not in favour.

The JD(S) put up a poor show in the elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly in May, bagging only 19 seats.

“The party has existed till today since 1983 and will continue to exist. Those who think that the party will end are living under illusion. It is not possible,” Gowda said.

According to Gowda, the 19 MLAs, seven MLCs and top leaders had a meeting last week and chalked out programmes for campaigning in the districts, which will be finalised after Kumaraswamy returns from abroad.