JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday said he would support Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s claim for prime ministership as a quid pro quo for making his son H D Kumaraswamy the chief minister.
However, Gowda said there were too many prime ministerial aspirants in the Mahagathbandhan — the grand alliance of anti-BJP forces — and that regional parties would have the final say on who would occupy the country’s top post.
Gowda, a former prime minister, was speaking at an interaction with Deccan Herald-Prajavani ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Rahul Gandhi aspiring to become the PM is natural. As far as I am concerned, supporting him when it comes to that is my dharma. It is because of their (Congress) support that Kumaraswamy is the CM here,” Gowda said. “But all regional parties have the right to take the final decision.”
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for claiming that the Mahagathbandhan had no idea who their PM would be, Gowda said: “There are many who are capable of handling the issues relating to the nation as PM. There is Mamata Banerjee... she is a strong fighter who has no personal corruption, Mayawati, N Chandrababu Naidu — all of them may have ambitions.”
Gowda ruled out his own candidature for the PM post. “That question doesn’t arise.” He also added that he was undecided on contesting the upcoming polls. “But let’s see how circumstances shape things.”
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The BJP has been targeting the Mahagathbandhan with a narrative that the grand alliance cannot provide a stable government.
“Then didn’t my government do anything? Vajpayee’s government comprised 21 parties. Did he do nothing? Didn’t he win Kargil,” Gowda asked.
The 85-year-old hit out at Modi for targeting the grand alliance by pointing out that he was himself knocking on doors to forge alliances.
“The PM, who got 282 seats in 2014, is now struggling to maintain a majority. He is going door to door. In Tamil Nadu, why has he forged an alliance (with AIADMK)? Modi went to Shiv Sena’s doorsteps,” he said. “Modi says the grand alliance will be a mahamilavat. He knows what to say where without realising that it will hurt him in return.”
When asked to point out the biggest achievements of the Modi government, Gowda paused and then quipped: “I’m happy he has given new names to old schemes.”
Gowda has been accused of following dynasty politics. He downplayed this saying his sons and grandsons entered politics due to pressure from people. “I’ve not forced anyone into politics.”