Deve Gowda, cornerstone of anti-BJP alliance

The saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. Janata Dal (Secular) chief H D Deve Gowda may just be back in the reckoning to adorn the chair of the prime minister of India. 
 
Rewind 22 years to the summer of 1996. It is May 28 and after failing to garner the required majority, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has just dissolved the BJP’s 13-day government, making way for the Congress to field the then 63-year-old  Gowda to become the 11th prime minister of India. 

On April 11, 1997, less than a year into his tenure, Gowda quits, making way for I K Gujral to take over the post. 
 
Jump back to the present day, and the now 85-year-old Gowda says he is not really interested in contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.  "I have decided not to contest for Parliament (election), I have asked all leaders from our district if they would like to contest for Parliament. They will be given first preference...," he said. 
 
Pointing out that several party leaders have expressed their unwillingness to contest, Gowda said, "What should I do, I have completed 85 years (age)," Gowda told PTI in Hassan on March 30. 
 
But the recent political developments in Karnataka, including H D Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony, has projected Gowda as the centrepiece that galvanises the all India anti-BJP coalition into action. 
 
And though one can think of several contenders who may be vying or harbouring the ambition to be the face of the mega-Opposition, including  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati,  Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Congress president Rahul Gandhi etc., none are as senior as Gowda. 
 
Seniority may not be enough to guarantee Gowda the prime ministership and while he is eligible for the post through his membership in the Lok Sabha, a lot of other factors in play will determine the road ahead to the 2019 polls.  
 
In the meantime, one can be assured that the JD(S) supremo will certainly earn some currency as the face of the Opposition alliance as he continues to lock horns with the BJP. 

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Deve Gowda, cornerstone of anti-BJP alliance

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