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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Deve Gowda says he is open to continue JD(S)’ alliance with Congress in Karnataka

Deve Gowda’s statement on Thursday came after weeks of sparring between the Janata Dal (S) and the Congress.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2019 17:21 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) patriarch said his party was not insisting that it wanted to contest all 17 assembly seats where bypolls are to be held.
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) patriarch said his party was not insisting that it wanted to contest all 17 assembly seats where bypolls are to be held.(PTI FILE PHOTO)
         

Less than two months after the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka collapsed in a floor test, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said on Thursday that he was open to continuing the alliance for the bypolls to 17 seats that fell vacant following the disqualification of rebel MLAs.

Gowda’s statement on Thursday came after weeks of sparring between the two parties, and especially between him and his protege-turned-foe Siddaramaiah, the former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party chief.

The JD (S) patriarch told reporters said that the Congress has to learn that there is a need for cooperation considering the circumstances in the country. “We must forget personal differences considering the bad situation in the country,” he said. However, he added that interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi must consult state leaders in her party before taking a call.

Byelections have to be held to the constituencies of the 17 rebels, who resigned from the previous government in the run-up to its collapse and who were disqualified eventually. Of the 17, 14 were Congress MLAs and three were from the JD (S). The rebels have challenged the disqualification in the Supreme Court, but the case is yet to be taken up. There is also no confirmation on when the byelections will be held, but they would have to be held within six months of the disqualification.

Gowda clarified that the JD (S) was not insisting that it wanted to contest all 17 seats that fell vacant.

“We are not saying that we have to contest all 17 seats. In the past, we have voluntarily decided not to contest bypolls. In fact, [in 2017] they had fielded one of our party members as their candidate and won,” he said.

He said that it was up to Sonia Gandhi to decide how to proceed further in this matter. Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao were in New Delhi on Thursday to attend a meeting of Congress state unit presidents and legislature party chiefs called by Sonia Gandhi. It was speculated the Gandhi would hold an additional separate meeting with the Karnataka delegation, but this could not be confirmed.

The Congress is yet to take a call on naming the Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly. Siddaramaiah is speculated to be the frontrunner, especially because his challenger former minister DK Shivakumar is currently in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody as part of an investigation into an alleged money laundering case.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 16:33 IST