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HD Deve Gowda Hints His Party Keen On Continuing Alliance With Congress

HD Deve Gowda hinted he was open for an alliance with the Congress in 17 assembly constituencies

Bengaluru: 

After engaging in a blame game over the collapse of their coalition government, JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda on Thursday indicated his party is still open for continuing its alliance with the Congress.

“To get rid of the bad situation in the country, we have to keep aside our personal jealousy,” he told reporters here in an apparent attack on the BJP-led NDA rule without naming it.

Mr Deve Gowda hinted he was open for an alliance with the Congress in 17 assembly constituencies, where bypolls have been necessitated following the disqualification of rebel MLAs, but said it all depended on the decision of the national party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi.

In the bypolls, the JD(S) was not inclined to contest all the constituencies as the Congress was more stronger on many of the segments, he said adding it was for Sonia Gandhi to take the decision.

He said she cannot decide without consulting Karnataka Congress leaders.

“I dont know what is the stand of the local leaders, I have not discussed with anyone every one knows about developments that are happening in the country. So if they come to a decision, if local leaders of that party come to a consensus, we will give cooperation I have said. There is nothing to misinterpret,” he added.

Mr Deve Gowda and Congress strongman in the state Siddaramaiah had traded charges, blaming each other for the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July after it was
rocked by dissidence.

Both Congress and JD(S) leaders have also been non-committal over the continuation of the alliance after the fall of the coalition government.

Congress leaders including state party chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and Mr Siddaramaiah, who is the Congress legislature party leader, have maintained that continuation of alliance will be decided by the high command.

However, several top leaders of the party on condition of anonymity had recently said the entire rank and file of the party were happy to end the partnership with JD(S).

The two parties, considered arch rivals, especially in old Mysuru region, had bitterly fought against each other during the 2018 assembly polls but came together to form a post-poll coalition following a hung verdict.

However, the alliance was not accepted by lower level leaders and the cadres of both the parties and this culminated in the open revolt by 17 MLAs of the combine and the fall of the government, paving the way for BJP’s return to power.

The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law. They have challenged it in the Supreme Court.

On the three seats represented by the JDS, Mr Deve Gowda said he would field candidates based on local leaders’ decision.

Referring to the criticism of JDS by Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Mr Siddaramaiah, during the assembly elections that it was a “B” team of BJP, Mr Deve Gowda said no one now says so. “…it is a gone thing now. I gave cooperation despite all these things.

“The point is both the parties had suffered badly on account of remarks against each other (during 2018 assembly polls), what was the use? They had 130 seats with them (in the previous assembly), they got reduced to 78,” he said.

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