Karnataka polls is ‘do-or-die’ election for me, says JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda | india news | Hindustan Times
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Karnataka polls is ‘do-or-die’ election for me, says JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda

Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda talks about his campaign plan for the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections and the possible benefits of his party’s alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2018 08:57 IST
Vikram Gopal
Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) at Bowring Institute in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) at Bowring Institute in Bengaluru on Saturday.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

HD Deve Gowda, Janata Dal (Secular) supremo and former prime minister, believes that his party’s alliance with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may help it notch a victory in the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections. In an interview with Vikram Gopal, Gowda spoke about his party’s chances, its alliance with the BSP, and why the upcoming assembly election is a crucial one for him.

What are the JD(S)’s chances in the elections?

We need to improve in the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka areas. There are 40 days to go for the polls, of which I will campaign for 10 days in the Hyderabad and Mumbai-Karnataka regions. Then I will focus on the old Mysuru region.

How will your party benefit from alliances with the BSP and the NCP? And what about the JD(U)?

Behenji (Mayawati) had contested in the state on earlier occasions too. Even without winning a seat, they registered 30,000-odd votes in some seats. We will benefit from this alliance wherever we were losing by 1,000-2,000 votes. I have told Sharad Yadav that I will not align with the JD(U) if they are in talks with the Congress.

Will you emerge victorious?

With the alliance with Behenji, I think we should be able to scrape through a majority. In 1994, I got 113 seats (of 224). I am aiming for that.

What is your view on the government’s performance over the past five years?

The reputation of this government is at its lowest ebb. Is there any law and order in the state? Have they done anything? The lesser I say about this government the better.

The Congress termed your party as the ‘B’ team of the BJP...

They won’t be able to stop our momentum without saying such things. Why say such things in Hassan when they didn’t do it in the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions? That is because we will win all the 14 seats in Hassan and Mandya districts, and at least nine out of the 11 in Tumakuru.

BJP president Amit Shah also said that your party is limited to a small area.

The people will not swallow these words. People know the contributions made by Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy (his son and former CM).

What is your response to chief minister Siddaramaiah’s statement that opportunism is your sole ideology?

My son went with the BJP (in 2006) and they call him opportunistic. But what about Siddaramaiah, who left behind the party that groomed him and joined the Congress? Why did he go there when he used to call himself a socialist? One should never run after power, it must come to your doorstep.

What is your opinion about the seven legislators who left your party recently?

I was relieved when they finally left. Their closeness to the Congress began within six months of Siddaramaiah becoming the chief minister. They were against Kumaraswamy. Things had reached such a pass that when Kumaraswamy was moving a no-confidence motion in the assembly, these people were mocking him from behind.

How do you view the final verdict on the Cauvery?

The chief minister was out distributing sweets while the verdict was still being analysed. The tribunal had already decided that five-six tmcft of water from our basin was to be diverted to unknown projects in Tamil Nadu. How can the state celebrate an additional allocation of around 15 tmcft? Look at the drinking water needs of people in the Cauvery basin region.

Your alliance with the BSP is seen as the beginning of a national-level third front.

I might align with the BSP in the Lok Sabha elections. Some people are calling for an anti-BJP, anti-Congress alliance and others for an alliance with the Congress. I am not going to get entangled in this because I’m fighting both Congress and BJP in the assembly elections. To be honest, I’m confined to Karnataka because this is a do-or-die election for me. That’s why I’m campaigning like this, travelling 200-300 kilometres a day.

The state BJP is campaigning on the Modi government’s record...

The (pro-Modi) euphoria of 2014 has died away. He might promise many things in this election, but will people take him seriously?

What would you say is your legacy, after spending 56 years in politics?

I am the son of an ordinary farmer. I was part of the cooperative movement as well. I was the prime minister for 10 months, a chief minister for 17 months.

Not managing the media well was one of my biggest mistakes. Stories were planted against me every single day; they called me the sleeping prime minister.

I visited Kashmir five times during my short tenure, and sanctioned road projects and a university there.

I removed a rule in the defence forces that prevented Muslims from getting sensitive posts. I didn’t live a happy life because I always swam against the current.