JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday giving credence to speculation that the regional party and the BJP may have a pre-poll truck for the December 10 Legislative Council elections.
On Tuesday afternoon, photos of Modi holding Gowda's hand and offering him a seat went viral for the bonhomie on display.
Speaking to reporters later, Gowda said he discussed the upcoming MLC elections with Modi. “I told Modi that state-level leaders from JD(S) and BJP have to take a decision on forging an alliance,” he said.
Former BJP chief minister B S Yediyurappa had said publicly that he sought the JD(S) support in seats where the regional party is not contesting. "Yediyurappa also said he would discuss with leaders on the issue soon. Finally, it's up to the BJP to take a call on alliance since the party is in power. I have conveyed this to the PM,” Gowda said.
On December 10, elected representatives of local bodies will choose 25 members to the Legislative Council. This election gives BJP the chance to control the upper house with a majority.
The BJP and Congress are contesting in 20 seats whereas the JD(S) in just six where it is confident of winning.
Gowda pointed out that senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was "sympathetic" towards the idea of allying with the JD(S). "But, the Congress high command's decision is unknown."
JD(S) state spokesperson T A Sharavana said the party will decide based on what the BJP high command will choose.
According to JD(S) sources, the regional party is ready to support BJP candidates in seats where it is not contesting. "JD(S) will not knock BJP's door. If the national party leadership takes a call on taking our support, we are open to it. But they (BJP) have to take that decision first," a senior JD(S) leader said.
A BJP-JD(S) alliance now may provide a peek into the future when Karnataka will face assembly elections in 2023. It also fits the bill just right, with Gowda having assured Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, four months ago, a safety net in case his government faced trouble.
JD(S) sources say it is possible that the party may support the BJP only in constituencies where it would not hurt their own prospects in 2023. "It has been unofficially discussed with district-level leaders to consider the implications on the 2023 polls and then decide on extending support to the BJP in the MLC polls," a source added.
Before 2023, Karnataka will also see elections to the taluk/zilla panchayats and the BBMP.
IIT for Hassan
JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider setting up an IIT at Hassan. Gowda brought this up during his 20-minute-long meeting with Modi. The PM assured him that he would convene a meeting soon to discuss this. Hassan is Gowda’s home district. Even in 2015, when there was a row over Dharwad getting an IIT, Gowda had asked Modi to consider Hassan.
Watch latest videos by DH here: